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7 Pa. Code § 138e.3. Definitions.

§ 138e.3. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Act—The Agricultural Area Security Law (3 P. S. § §  901—915).

   Agreement or agreement of sale—A document executed by a landowner and the county board to purchase a specific agricultural conservation easement as part of the county board’s recommendation for purchase, and that includes all of the materials referenced and incorporated into the agreement, in accordance with section 14.1(h)(8.2) of the act (3 P. S. §  914.1(h)(8.2)).

   Agricultural conservation easement or easement—An interest in land, less than fee simple, which interest represents the right to prevent the development or improvement of a parcel for a purpose other than agricultural production. The easement may be granted by the owner of the fee simple to a third party or to the Commonwealth, to a county governing body or to a unit of local government. It shall be granted in perpetuity, as the equivalent of covenants running with the land. The exercise or failure to exercise any right granted by the easement will not be deemed to be management or control of activities at the site for purposes of enforcement of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (35 P. S. § §  6020.101—6020.1305).

   Agricultural production—The production for commercial purposes of crops, livestock and livestock products, including the processing or retail marketing of the crops, livestock or livestock products if more than 50% of the processed or merchandised products are produced by the farm operator. The term includes use of land which is devoted to and meets the requirements of and qualifications for payments or other compensation under a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the Federal government.

   Agricultural security area—A unit of 250 or more acres of land used for the agricultural production of crops, livestock and livestock products under the ownership of one or more persons and designated as such by the procedures in the act or designated as such under the act of January 19, 1968 (1967 P. L. 992, No. 442) (32 P. S. § §  5001—5012) prior to the February 12, 1989 effective date of the act of December 14, 1988 (P. L. 1202, No. 149), by the governing body of the county or governing body of the municipality in which the agricultural land is located on the basis of criteria and procedures which predate February 12, 1989: provided that an owner of land designated as such under the authority of the act of January 19, 1968 (1967 P. L. 1992, No. 442) may withdraw the land from an agricultural security area by providing written notice of withdrawal to the county governing body or governing body of the municipality in which the land is located within 180 days of February 12, 1989.

   Agricultural value—The sum of the following:

     (i)   The farmland value determined by the applicant’s appraisal.

     (ii)   One-half of the difference between the farmland value determined by the State or county board’s appraiser and the farmland value determined by the applicant’s appraiser if the farmland value determined by the State or county board’s appraiser exceeds the farmland value determined by the applicant’s appraiser.

   Allocation—The State Board’s designation of funds to eligible counties under section 14.1 of the act. An allocation is an accounting procedure only and does not involve certifying, reserving, encumbering, transferring or paying funds to eligible counties.

   Annual easement purchase threshold—An amount annually determined by the State Board which equals at least $10 million to be allocated among eligible counties.

   Applicant—A person offering to convey an easement on a farmland tract.

   Appropriation—The irrevocable commitment of a specific amount of money by the county governing body exclusively for the purchase of easements.

   Comparable sales—Market sales of similar land. In locating comparable sales, first priority will be given to farms within the same municipality as the subject land. The second priority will be farms located within other municipalities in the same county as the subject land. The lowest priority will be given to farms located outside the same county as the subject land.

   Conservation plan—A plan describing land management practices which, when completely implemented, will improve and maintain the soil, water and related plant and animal resources of the land. A conservation plan shall include the following:

     (i)   An installation schedule.

     (ii)   A maintenance program.

     (iii)   A nutrient management component consisting of a statement of whether a nutrient management plan is required under the Nutrient Management Act (3 P. S. § §  1701—1718) and, if required, confirmation that a plan is in place or will be in place prior to conveyance of the agricultural conservation easement. If a nutrient management plan is not required under the Nutrient Management Act, the nutrient management component shall consist of a description of the amounts and types of nutrients generated on the farmland tract and a description of any current and planned measures or procedures for containment, use, disposal or other disposition of the nutrients described.

   Contiguous acreage—All portions of one operational unit as described in the deed whether or not the portions are divided by streams, public roads, bridges, and whether or not described as multiple tax parcels, tracts, purparts, or other property identifiers. The term includes supportive lands such as unpaved field access roads, drainage areas, border strips, hedgerows, submerged lands, marshes, ponds and streams.

   Contract of sale—A legally enforceable agreement in a form provided by the State Board obligating the landowner to sell, and the Commonwealth or a county, or both, to purchase an agricultural conservation easement on a specified farmland tract.

   County board—The county agricultural land preservation board as appointed by the county governing body under the act.

   County fiscal year—The period from January 1 through December 31 of a particular calendar year.

   County governing body—The county board of commissioners or, under home rule charters, another designated council of representatives.

   County matching funds—Money appropriated by the county governing body for the purchase of easements.

   County planning commission—A planning commission or agency which has been designated by the county governing body to establish and foster a comprehensive plan for land management and development within the county.

   County program—A county agricultural land preservation program for the purchase of easements authorized and approved by the county governing body, and approved by the State Board under section 14.1(a)(3)(xi) and (xiv) of the act.

   Crops, livestock and livestock products—The term includes:

     (i)   Field crops, including corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, hay, potatoes and dry beans.

     (ii)   Fruits, including apples, peaches, grapes, cherries and berries.

     (iii)   Vegetables, including tomatoes, snap beans, cabbage, carrots, beets, onions and mushrooms.

     (iv)   Horticultural specialties, including nursery stock ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees and flowers.

     (v)   Livestock and livestock products, including cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, horses, poultry, furbearing animals, milk, eggs and furs.

     (vi)   Timber, wood and other wood products derived from trees.

     (vii)   Aquatic plants and animals and their by-products.

   Crops unique to the area—The term includes crops which historically have been grown or have been grown within the last 5 years in the region, and which are used for agricultural production in the region. For example, orchard or vineyard crops that have historically been produced in a particular county might be considered crops unique to the area.

   Curtilage—The area surrounding a residential structure used for a yard, driveway, onlot sewerage system or other nonagricultural purposes.

   Department—The Department of Agriculture of the Commonwealth.

   Easement value—The difference between the nonagricultural value and agricultural value of a farm. If solely the county or State appraisal is used, nonagricultural value and agricultural value are equal to market value and farmland value, respectively. If the landowner obtains an independent appraisal, nonagricultural value and agricultural value shall be calculated according to section 14.1(f) of the act.

   Economic viability of farmland for agricultural production—The capability of a particular tract of restricted land, other than a tract of 2 acres or less upon which construction and use of the landowner’s principal residence or housing for seasonal or full-time farm employes is permitted under section 14.1(c)(6)(iv) of the act, to meet the criteria in §  138e.16(a) (relating to minimum criteria for applications).

   Eligible counties—Counties whose county programs have been approved by the State Board. For the purpose of annual allocations, an eligible county shall have its county program approved by the State Board by January 1 of the year in which the annual allocation is made. Counties of the first class are not eligible under any circumstances.

   Encumber—The reservation by the Commonwealth or a county of previously-allocated funds to pay all or part of the costs of purchasing a specific easement under a specific agreement of sale.

   Farm—Land in this Commonwealth which is being used for agricultural production as defined in the act.

   Farmland tract or tract—Land constituting all or part of a farm with respect to which easement purchase is proposed. A farmland tract may consist of multiple tracts of land that are identifiable by separate tax parcel numbers, separate deeds or other methods of property identification.

   Farmland value—The price as of the valuation date for property used for normal farming operations which a willing and informed seller who is not obligated to sell would accept for the property, and which a willing and informed buyer who is not obligated to buy would pay for the property.

   Fund—The Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund established by section 7.2 of the act of June 15, 1982 (P. L. 549, No. 159) (3 P. S. §  1207.2).

   Grant funds—Funds allocated to a county by the State Board under section 14.1(h)(2) and (5)(ii) of the act, the expenditure of which is not contingent upon the appropriation and expenditure of county matching funds.

   Grantee—The person or entity to whom an easement is conveyed under the act.

   Grazing or pasture land—Land, other than land enrolled in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program, used primarily for the growing of grasses and legumes which are consumed by livestock in the field and at least 90% of which is clear of trees, shrubs, vines or other woody growth not consumed by livestock.

   Harm the economic viability of the farmland for agricultural production—To cause a particular tract of restricted land to fail to meet the criteria in §  138e.16(a) or to create, through subdivision, a tract of restricted land, other than a tract of 2 acres or less upon which construction and use of the landowner’s principal residence or housing for seasonal or full-time farm employes is permitted under section 14.1(c)(6)(iv) of the act, that would fail to meet the criteria in §  138e.16(a).

   Harvested cropland—Land, other than land enrolled in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program, used for the commercial production of field crops, fruit crops, vegetables and horticultural specialties, such as Christmas trees, flowers, nursery stock, ornamentals, greenhouse products and sod. The term does not include land devoted to production of timber and wood products.

   Immediate family member—A brother, sister, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, grandson, granddaughter, father or mother of the landowner.

   LCCLand Capability Class—A group of soils designated by either the county soil survey, as published by USDA-NRCS in cooperation with the Pennsylvania State University and the Department, or the Soil and Water Conservation Technical Guide maintained and updated by USDA-NRCS.

   Land development—One of the following activities:

     (i)   The improvement of one lot or two or more contiguous lots, tracts or parcels of land for any purpose involving a group of two or more residential buildings, whether proposed initially or cumulatively.

     (ii)   A subdivision of land.

   Land which has been devoted primarily to agricultural use—Acreage which is a part of restricted land and is harvested cropland, grazing or pasture land, land used for the production of timber and wood products, land containing nonresidential structures used for agricultural production, or other acreage immediately available for agricultural production, and which excludes any acreage upon which immediate agricultural production is impracticable due to residential structures and their curtilages, wetlands, soil quality, topography or other natural or manmade features, and which further excludes any tract of 2 acres or less designated as the site upon which the landowner’s principal residence or housing for seasonal or full-time employes is permitted under section 14.1(c)(6)(iv) of the act.

   Landowner—The person holding legal title to a particular farmland tract.

   Local government unit—Any city, borough, township or town or any home rule municipality, optional plan municipality, optional charter municipality or similar general purpose unit of government which may be created or authorized by statute.

   Mansion house—The primary residential structure located upon a parcel.

   Market value—The price as of the valuation date for the highest and best use of the property which a willing and informed seller who is not obligated to sell would accept for the property, and which a willing and informed buyer who is not obligated to buy would pay for the property.

   Nonagricultural value—The sum of the following:

     (i)   The market value determined by the State or county board’s appraiser.

     (ii)   One-half of the difference between the market value determined by the applicant’s appraiser and the market value determined by the State or county board’s appraiser, if the market value determined by the applicant’s appraiser exceeds the market value determined by the State or county board’s appraiser.

   Nonprofit land conservation organization—A nonprofit organization dedicated to land conservation purposes recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C.A. § §  1—7872).

   Normal farming operations—The customary and generally accepted activities, practices and procedures that farmers adopt, use or engage in year after year in the production and preparation for market of crops, livestock and livestock products and in the production and harvesting of agricultural, agronomic, horticultural, silvicultural, and aquacultural crops and commodities. The term includes the storage and utilization of agricultural and food processing wastes for animal feed and the disposal of manure, other agricultural waste and food processing waste on land where the materials will improve the condition of the soil or the growth of crops or will aid in the restoration of the land for the same purposes.

   Nutrient management plan—A written site-specific plan which incorporates best management practices to manage the use of plant nutrients for crop production and water quality protection consistent with the Nutrient Management Act (3 P. S. § §  1701—1718).

   Parcel—A tract of land in its entirety which is assessed for tax purposes by one county, including any portion of that tract that may be located in a neighboring county. The county responsible for assessing an entire tract, on its own or in conjunction with the Commonwealth or a local government unit, or both, shall be eligible to purchase agricultural conservation easements covering the entire tract.

   Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code—53 P. S. § §  10101—11201.

   Person—A corporation, partnership, business trust, other association, government entity (other than the Commonwealth), estate, trust, foundation or natural person.

   Restricted land—Land which is subject to the terms of an agricultural conservation easement acquired under the act.

   Secretary—The Secretary of the Department.

   Soils available for agricultural production—Soils on land that is harvested cropland, pasture or grazing land, or land upon which no structure, easement, roadway, curtilage or natural or manmade feature would impede the use of that soil for agricultural production.

   Soils report—A report which identifies and sets forth the amount of each land capability class found on a farm land tract.

   State Board—The State Agricultural Land Preservation Board.

   State-certified general real estate appraiser—A person who holds a current general appraiser’s certificate issued under the Real Estate Appraisers Certification Act (63 P. S. § §  457.1—457.19).

   State matching funds—Funds allocated to a county by the State Board under section 14.1(h)(3), (4) or (5)(i) of the act, the expenditure of which is contingent upon the appropriation and expenditure of county matching funds.

   Subdivision—The division or redivision of a lot, tract or parcel of land by any means into two or more lots, tracts, parcels or other divisions of land including changes in existing lot lines for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of lease, partition by the court for distribution to heirs or devisees, transfer of ownership or building or lot development.

   Title report—A report prepared by a person authorized by the Insurance Department to engage in the sale of title insurance or an attorney setting forth the existence of any liens, restrictions or other encumbrances on a farmland tract. The term does not include the title search, but does include the title binder or the title commitment, or both.

   USDA—The United States Department of Agriculture.

   USDA-NRCS—The Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA. This entity was formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service.

Source

   The provisions of this §  138e.3 amended November 24, 1995, effective November 25, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 5253; amended December 26, 1997, effective December 27, 1997, 27 Pa.B. 6782; amended April 30, 2004, effective May 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 2421. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (260105) to (260106) and (239085) to (239090).

Cross References

   This section cited in 7 Pa. Code §  138e.64 (relating to appraisal); 7 Pa. Code §  138e.222 (relating to conservation plan); 7 Pa. Code §  138e.253 (relating to registration of eligible land trust); and 7 Pa. Code §  138l.1 (relating to definitions).



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