TRENTON, N.J. — The Garden State Preservation Trust last week approved a request for $79.5 million to help counties, towns and nonprofit organizations preserve farmland across New Jersey and to further state-initiated farmland preservation efforts.
“Farmland is the foundation for agriculture and for so many of the benefits our farms have to offer us —everything from opportunities to enjoy fresh, local produce and farm experiences, to rural and open landscapes that keep our communities green and growing,” said Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey agriculture secretary. “This funding will enable New Jersey to continue our partnership efforts to preserve productive farmland and ensure agriculture remains a vital part of the Garden State for all time.”
The State Agriculture Development Committee, which administers New Jersey’s Farmland Preservation Program, made the request that includes the following funding breakdown:
$38.5 million in grants to assist counties in preserving farmland under the County Planning Incentive Grant Program. A participating county can be eligible for a base grant of up to $1 million under this program.
A county that spends down its base grant is eligible to compete for additional monies from a $25 million competitive grant fund while it lasts; the potential maximum county grant under this program is $6 million.
$16.25 million in grants to help 31 municipalities preserve farms under the Municipal Planning Incentive Grant Program. Three towns participating in the program for the first time are eligible for $750,000 each, while the remaining municipalities are eligible for $500,000 each.
$20.64 million for the committee to directly preserve farms statewide under its State Acquisition Program; and
$4.1 million in grants to assist four nonprofit organizations in preserving farmland under the Nonprofit Program.
The request will be forwarded to the Legislature for approval of appropriation bills, which must be signed by the governor.