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Centre County Farm Bureau voices concerns over PennDOT plans

CENTRE HALL — Farmers in Centre County are voicing their concerns over some of the proposed routes included in PennDOT’s State College Area Connector plan to reroute or expand U.S. 322, according to the Centre County Farm Bureau.

The Farm Bureau reported concerns the highway would destroy farms in the path of the expansion, according to a news release. Though a route still needs to be finalized, the possibility of a four-lane highway bisecting some farms has led to a drop in property values and placed a significant hurdle for farmers who are planning for the future of their farms, the release states..

“Centre County is home to prime farmland, and some of these proposals have not taken that fact into consideration,” said Dave Fetterolf, Centre County Farm Bureau president. “We understand the idea behind trying to avoid disrupting businesses when planning this route, but the fact that these farms are not being considered as agricultural businesses is unacceptable.”

The project, which is slated to begin construction in 2027, is already impacting the farming community as agricultural development, sales and estate planning is on hold because the future of these farms is uncertain, the Farm Bureau says.

“We want it to be clear that farmers are willing to work with officials in the planning of this project,” Farm Bureau Vice President Dan Kniffen said. “If the existing Route 322 is expanded along the edges of some of these farms, the impact would be much more manageable. But to split farms in half with a new highway means the end of those farms, period.”

After a recent public informational meeting hosted by PennDOT, Farm Bureau leaders said questions remained unanswered concerning the environmental impacts of the project and compensation for any land that would be seized.

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