Agriculture Advisory Committee Update – 09/13/22

According to the latest NJ Farmland Preservation News (Spring/Summer 2022), the Farmland Preservation Program will turn 40 years old in 2023! Here are a few milestones achieved along the way:

1979: Legislature mandates Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection to study methods for preserving agriculture in New Jersey.

1980: Publication of the “Grassroots Report” recommending the basic structure of today’s Farmland Preservation Program (FPP), establishing the concepts of Agricultural Development Areas (ADAs), County Agriculture Development Boards (CADBs), and the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) to administer the program.

1981: Voters approve the concept of the Farmland Preservation Program and pass the $50 million Farmland Preservation Bond Act to fund it.

1983: The Right to Farm (RTF) Act creates the SADC and charges it with administering the FPP and the RTF Act. Simultaneously, the Agriculture Retention and Development Act passes, establishing the framework for implementing New Jersey’s FPP and authorized counties to create CADBs.

1985: First five farms are preserved in Chesterfield Township, Burlington County.

1990: The SADC reached its first significant benchmark, permanently preserving 73 farms in 10 counties covering over 10,000 acres.

1998: The Garden State Preservation Trust is established, functioning as the independent gatekeeper of funding for Farmland Preservation, Green Acres and Historic Preservation programs.

2012: Preserved farmland through the state FPP program crosses the 200,000-acre threshold!

2014: NJ Voters approve permanent program funding for Farmland Preservation, Open Space and Historic Preservation through dedication of Corporate Business Tax (CBT) revenue.

2016: The “Preserve New Jersey Act” implements the CBT funding mechanism providing the program’s first dedicated funding.

Currently, there are 2,800 preserved farms in NJ totaling 247,517 acres. Hunterdon county has the most preserved farms at 462, while Salem county has the most preserved acres totaling 42,627.

In our own township, the 96-acre Rolph farm was preserved for farmland preservation in June, bringing the total acreage of preserved farms to 2,694. There are 3 additional farms in the queue to be preserved. These could close next year and would add another 77 acres to our preserved farmland.

Larry LaFevre
Beverly Kirby- McDonough
AAC Secretary

Meetings 1st Thursday of the Month