Horn Farm Center Lease Extended Through 2115

The York County Board of Commissioners in a show of its strong support for family farms and local food production on Wednesday granted a 99-year lease to the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education.

The County in 2007 began leasing the Horn Farm along Route 30 in Hellam Township to the then-new 501(c)(3) nonprofit. To protect taxpayers, the initial 30-year agreement allowed the County with two years’ notice to reassume control over much of the farm for any reason.

The Commissioners on Wednesday recognized the Horn Farm Center’s success and importance of its mission to the community by amending the original lease with a new, 99-year term extending through 2115. Under the revised, more traditional terms, the County only would be able to reassume control over the farm for specific reasons, such as if the Center ceased operations.

In addition, the County also authorized the Center to put the entire 186-acre Horn Farm tract in a conservation easement that prevents any significant future development on the property. It has been farmed for more than 250 years.

“It’s only fitting that a tract of land so representative of York County’s rich agricultural heritage serves as a nursery for its future,” said President Commissioner Susan Byrnes. “We are proud today to stand in support of this organization and the importance of local farming within our community.”

The lease extension and easement are meant to help bolster the Center’s efforts to secure grants and legacy donations by providing peace of mind to potential supporters regarding the County’s commitment to the operation.

"Ensuring the long-term future of the Horn Farm strengthens the health and well-being of our community, our economy and our environment by connecting as many citizens of York County as possible to local food,” said Horn Farm Center Board President Kevin Alvarnaz. “This long-term lease and conservation easement guarantee the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education will remain a community asset for generations to come."

The Center is a community resource that helps would-be farmers get started in the field, It also teaches people to grow their own food through 102 community garden plots on site.

In addition, the Horn Farm Center throughout the year offers classes and workshops to the public on growing, cooking, and preparing local foods

More than 1,000 adults and children participate in activities on the property each year, Alvarnaz said.

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