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For Immediate Release: April 1, 1999 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

Leah S. McCormack from Middletown, Monmouth County, is the proud new owner of the former Brandenburg Farm in Plumsted Township, Ocean County. The 125-acre farm was auctioned back into private ownership by the State Agriculture Development Committee yesterday.

McCormack outbid four other registered bidders for the property, offering $425,000 for the farm. Closing on the property is expected in the next 60 days.

Farming has been a way of life for the McCormack family for four generations. McCormack and other family members currently run a 28-acre vegetable farm in Monmouth County. The newly acquired farm will enable the family to expand production.

The Brandenburg Farm farm was acquired by the SADC in fee simple last November as part of its continuing farmland preservation efforts around the state. The total cost of the property, $720,475 was shared by the SADC, Ocean County ($219,275) and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service ($63,908).

The federal participation was authorized through the 1996 Farm Bill's Farmland Protection Program which has contributed a total of $2.6 million for New Jersey's farmland preservation efforts since the farm bill passed.

Proceeds from yesterday's sale will be returned to the Farmland Preservation Program and used to preserve other New Jersey farms. The SADC will hold the development rights on the property. Under the terms of the deed restriction that goes with the property, the farm cannot be used for a non-agricultural use.

Statewide, 349 farms totaling 52,758 acres have been permanently protected under the Farmland Preservation Program with almost 22,700 additional acres pending preservation. This transaction represents the 13th farm preserved using the fee simple method, bringing the total acreage of farms preserved using this unique method to over 3,200 acres.