(WHTM) — On Friday, April 14, the Shapiro administration announced a $5 million investment to protect 22 farms throughout Pennsylvania.

“These are decisions you make about farmland that are not only about today, there about tomorrow, for years to come and for generations to come,” said Russell Redding, Secretary for the Department of Agriculture.

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Since 1988, Pennsylvania has protected 624,277 acres in 58 counties and invested more than $1.6 billion into the state. This investment helps preserve 2,038 acres of farmland in 13 counties in Pa.

“It’s about the farms, it’s about the community, it’s about the ability long term to feed ourselves. These are farms that are preserved in perpetuity, right they’re never going to change. So knowing that they’re going to be available for every generation to follow makes a really important statement,” said Redding.

“So, when I think about the future of [agriculture], knowing that those lands are here forever then you can build a lot of other things around it, like, investment in farming, investments in climate, investments in young farmers, in youth, and all of that comes together. But it begins and ends with good land,” said Redding.

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Counties with newly preserved farms include Cumberland, Lebanon, York, berks, and more, and investments come from Pennsylvania partnerships with local governments and non-profits.

“It’s a good feeling, it gives me a lot of hope about the future when we persevere these great assets in farmland,” said Redding.