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Farmland Preservation Program Marks Milestone, Breaks Record
For Immediate Release: July 1998 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

Borderland, the beautiful Sussex County farm where Governor Christie Whitman started her Skylands tour this morning, holds the honor of being the 300th farm welcomed into the state Farmland Preservation program. The addition of Borderland Farm last month was part of a record-setting fiscal year that saw 10,000 acres added to the program. A total of 305 farms on more than 47,300 acres of irreplaceable farmland are now permanently protected from any non-agricultural use under the 15-year-old program.

"Under Governor Whitman's leadership, the state's efforts to save our precious farmland have been stronger than ever before in the program's history," said Agriculture Secretary Art Brown Jr., noting that both the number of farms and the acreage enrolled in the Farmland Preservation Program have increased by more the 130 percent in the last four years. "But there is so much more to be done," Brown added. "Under the Governor's open space initiative, 300,000 acres of open space is to be preserved in the next four years with a million acres protected in the next decade. Of that million acres, it is recommended that 500,000 acres be farmland." Borderland is a 205-acre horse farm in Wantage Township on the New Jersey - New York border. The 69 acres in New Jersey officially entered the program on June 23 and the New York acreage will be preserved shortly, marking the first time a bi-state farm has been permanently preserved. Virginia Martin, the farm's current owner, dates her family's involvement with the farm back to 1911 when her great-uncle purchased the property and built the farm's reputation on his Holstein-Friesian herd and his peach and apple orchards. An avid conservationist, he also ran a herd of bison on the farm from 1914 to 1920 and maintained a flock of wild turkeys at times when both bison and wild turkey numbers were dwindling in the United States. Martin's brother operated the farm as a dairy farm from the early 1950s until the early 1960s when declining dairy prices forced him to renovate the property and begin a horse breeding farm. Martin proudly notes that, "We still have every inch of land our great-uncle bought in 1911 and it is still undeveloped and, now, well never be developed!"

Next year, she and co-owner Joan Mullhaupt, plan to introduce mushrooms to the farm's list of products so that "horses, hay and mushrooms will be the order of the day" on Borderland Farm.