In a ceremony in Mannington, New Jersey, agriculture officials celebrated the preservation of the 2,000th New Jersey farm, representing a major milestone in the state’s nearly half century effort to stop the suburbanization of farms.
New Jersey State Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher applauded the efforts of New Jersey farmers and state officials. Speaking to the crowd, Fisher lauded the coordinated efforts of government officials of both parties, non-profit agencies, and New Jersey farmers in the preservation and development of New Jersey agriculture. Agriculture in New Jersey makes up a significant portion of the state economy.
New Jersey’s Farmland Preservation Program has its roots in the 1960s and 70s. Following rapid post-war suburbanization, rural farmland throughout the United States experienced rapid development. In order to combat the loss of farmland, the state government passed a series of regulations, limiting the ability of developers to purchase and transform state farmland.
The current Farmland Preservation Program offers New Jersey farmers incentives to sell development easements that allow farmers to continue to own and farm their land, but would prevent non-agricultural development in the event of that land’s sale. In addition to easements, the State Agricultural Development Committee, or SADC, has been active in purchasing agricultural land form farmers looking to sell and has provided tax incentives for farmers to donate development easements.
The end result of these efforts has been largely positive. Since 1985, when SADC preserved its first farm, the organization has saved almost 200,000 acres of agricultural land. The SADC hopes that their efforts will preserve New Jersey’s agricultural strength and will help develop the state economy for years to come.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer