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Preserved Salem County Farm Has New Owner
For Immediate Release: March 30, 2000 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


Michael Catalano of Salem is the proud new owner of the former Geck Farm in Mannington Township, Salem County. The 172-acre farm was auctioned back into private ownership by the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) on March 24. Mr. Catalano outbid three other bidders for the property, offering $270,000 for the farm. Closing on the property is expected in the next 60 days. Mr. Catalano, a third-generation vegetable farmer, owns Catalano Farms. He and his son John, who farm approximately 700 acres in the area, plan to expand their operations with today's purchase. The State Agriculture Development Committee had purchased the farm in December 1999 as part of Governor Whitman's one-million-acre open space initiative, which calls for the preservation of an additional 500,000 acres of New Jersey farmland over the next decade. The purchase price was $481,000. The SADC resold the farm at public auction with a deed restriction that permanently preserves the property for agricultural use. Proceeds from the sale will be returned to the Farmland Preservation Program and used to preserve other New Jersey farms. Statewide, 414 farms totaling 61,725 acres have been permanently protected under the Farmland Preservation Program, with almost 15,187 additional acres pending preservation.