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The Berks Conservancy has been named a recipient of a 2014 Farm City Unity Award.

The Farm City Unity awards are presented by Reading Eagle’s Berks Country and Business Weekly publications. These awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of individuals and companies who have been instrumental in bridging two business sectors in Berks County, the agriculture/farming industry and the local commerce community. Nominations for these awards were open and accepted from the general public. Leaders within the agriculture and commerce community assisted with selecting this year’s recipients. The Berks Conservancy is being recognized for their exceptional service in the effort to preserve usable farmland in a responsible manner that creates a foundation for enhanced progress for commerce well into the future.

The nomination states, “The Berks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that believes nature is essential to our quality of life. A good portion of their work includes the agricultural sector and specifically farmers throughout Berks County. They are primarily a land trust, protecting over 7,700 acres of farmland, open space and forest throughout the county. They have worked with plain sect farmers who are averse to working through government programs to protect their land but are willing to work through a non-governmental organization. They have worked with farmers who have property with a mix of farmland and open space or forest land to help make it more eligible and competitive without the County Ag land preservation program. And they have worked with farmers to protect their farmland outright through their conservation easement program. Keeping the family farm healthy and sustainable and therefore profitable is another way to preserve farmland. The Berks Conservancy works with many farmers every year to see that they have current conservation and nutrient management plans for their farms and that those conservation plans are implemented. The Conservancy works with other agencies and funding sources to leverage hundreds of thousands of dollars annually that directly support farmers in implementing best management practices on their farms. These “BMP’s” ultimately help to protect the quality of our water across the county. Projects like installing stream-bank fencing, manure storage facilities, animal crossings and rain gutters on the barns help farmers become more competitive and helps to protect the environment”.