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45 Farms in 11 Counties
Qualify for Farmland Preservation Funding
For Immediate Release: August 7, 2000 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


Forty-five farms totaling 3,832 acres qualified for state preservation funding in this year's second round of the State Agriculture Development Committee's county grants program, Agriculture Secretary Arthur R. Brown, Jr., announced today. "I'm pleased to welcome these farms to New Jersey's rapidly expanding list of farmland and open space preservation projects," said Governor Whitman. "With each step toward our million-acre goal, we guarantee our children and grandchildren a greener New Jersey and a better place for them to raise their own families." "Earlier this year, a record 145 farms covering 12,672 acres were approved for state preservation grants in the first funding round of the county grants program," noted Secretary Brown, who chairs the SADC. "This second round -- a first for the program -- only adds to that already impressive achievement." The two funding rounds combined will provide state preservation funding for up to 190 farms covering 16,504 acres in 11 counties. Prior to this, the highest annual total under this program was 85 farms covering 11,331 acres that were approved in 1999. Under the county grants program, landowners apply to counties to sell their development easements or development rights. The SADC provides cost-sharing grants of 60-80 percent to help fund those county purchases. In June, the SADC certified development values for each farm based on the recommendations of three independent appraisers. A development value is the maximum price on which the state is willing to cost-share. Each landowner then had the opportunity to submit a sealed bid stating his or her final asking price. The SADC opened those bids today. Valid bids were submitted by 45 of the 74 landowners eligible for this round. Altogether, the state preservation costs for the 45 farms will total $10,407,702. To be valid, bids must not exceed the highest appraised value. The SADC provides grants that are based on no higher than the state certified value. If a landowner submits a valid bid that is higher than the certified value, the county must determine whether it will expend the additional funds to preserve that farm. Funding is subject to final approval by the counties, SADC, Garden State Preservation Trust and Legislature.

To date, 438 farms totaling 65,555 acres have been permanently preserved under the state Farmland Preservation Program.