The chief objective of the Farmland Preservation Program is to buy development rights on farms so that the land is permanently preserved and restricted to only agricultural uses. Our office coordinates all acquisitions in accordance with the regulations set by the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC). Our office is responsible for all appraisals, engineering and survey work, legal and title work, and submits all applications to the SADC. The office also oversees the state and municipal eight year development easement programs.
As of this date, there are over 250 farms totaling more than 17,300 acres in 17 municipalities in farmland preservation. Gloucester County has been one of the most active counties in the State in regards to farmland preservation over the last 10 years, and has permanently preserved more than 10,000 acres of farmland over that time. This is one of the largest totals for any New Jersey county.
Since each prospective farm has its own characteristics, the Farmland Preservation Program has specifics based on each property. As such, our office prefers to deal with interested parties on a case-by-case basis. In this regard, our initial meeting with prospective applicants is usually around their kitchen table or in their crop fields. We will forward explanatory materials on the program to all interested landowners, however we find it most beneficial to conduct our initial meetings where people are most comfortable; be it in their homes, around their kitchen tables, or in their fields. We also welcome meetings at our office in Clayton by appointment.
For more information on the Farmland Preservation Program, please contact the Office of Land Preservation at (856) 307-6451 or download the "Understanding Farmland Preservation Guide" which is linked on our mainpage.
Gloucester County Comprehensive Farmland Preservation Plan
For the past several years the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), who has State oversight of the Farmland Preservation Program, has been working on methods to revise it to ensure that their available limited funding assistance is applied to the highest quality farms in each county. One of these methods was the requirement for each county to develop a specific Farmland Preservation Plan to ensure that all the county programs are consistent with the new State regulations governing the Farmland Preservation Program.
As such in mid-2008 Gloucester County, in cooperation with the Land Conservancy of New Jersey (formerly the Morris Land Conservancy), completed the task of compiling the Gloucester County Comprehensive Farmland Preservation Plan. The primary purpose of the Plan was to provide a vision and strategy for the preservation of the County’s agricultural resources. The Plan prioritized farmland for preservation and was based upon input from local farmland owners, residents, municipal officials, a number of County agencies and departments, and the Board of Chosen Freeholders. The Plan conformed to all the updated SADC guidelines that determine the eligibility for properties seeking to apply to the Farmland Preservation Program. The Plan has also been used by Gloucester County to apply for a Planning Incentive Grant (PIG) from the SADC, which is the only program instituted at the County level that qualifies for any type of significant State funding assistance for farmland preservation efforts. The completion of the Plan was a requirement for eligibility into the State PIG Program.
In order to reflect all preservation activities that have occurred since it was approved by the SADC in 2009, and to ensure that it can continue to be utilized as an effective planning tool for the County’s farmland preservation efforts, in 2015 the Office of Land Preservation completed the task of updating the Plan. The update also included a revision to the County’s Agriculture Development Area (ADA) to more accurately reflect the areas to be targeted for farmland preservation initiatives based on a parcel-by-parcel evaluation, and to better reflect future County and municipal planning goals. The Office of Land Preservation worked hand-in-hand with the SADC to ensure the updated Plan was consistent with all State requirements. The updated Plan will continue to be used by the County as the primary component in the targeting of its farmland preservation efforts.
The updated Gloucester County Comprehensive Farmland Preservation Plan can be accessed through the following link (large file; please allow time for download): Farmland Preservation Plan