Home > News > Press Releases
Preserved Farms in Warren, Gloucester-Salem Counties
Sold at Auction
For Immediate Release: April 26, 2000 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) sold two permanently preserved farms -- one in Warren County and the other in Gloucester and Salem counties -- at public auctions held today in Trenton. "With today's auctions, the SADC has purchased, preserved and resold 10 farms totaling more than 1,700 acres of farmland in a matter of months," said Agriculture Secretary Art Brown, Jr. "Thanks to increased funding under Governor Whitman's million-acre preservation initiative, we've been able to step in and buy more of these properties that are up for sale -- farms that often face the greatest threat of development." Robert A. LeCompte of Lebanon, Hunterdon County, offered the winning bid of $350,000 to purchase the 136-acre former Blazier farm located along Port Colden Road in Mansfield and Washington Townships, Warren County. The SADC had purchased the farm in January for $750,000. Mr. LeCompte owns Valley Crest Farm in Lebanon. Robert A. Kessel of Monroeville, Salem County, placed the high bid of $310,000 to purchase a 261-acre farm consisting of three tracts in Franklin Township, Gloucester County, and Upper Pittsgrove Township, Salem County. Mr. Kessel, the owner of Kessel's Nursery, plans to expand his current 100-acre nursery operations. The farm he purchased fronts along both sides of Willow Grove Road, Monroeville Road and Garrison Road in Franklin Township. A total 107 acres are located in Upper Pittsgrove Township. The farm was part of the 1,076-acre Sunnydale-Gracemark properties, which the SADC purchased in January for $4.4 million, including $750,000 in cost-sharing assistance from Gloucester County. The SADC sold the remainder of the properties -- five preserved farms -- at auction in March. Altogether, the five farms sold for $1.375 million. The SADC acquired all of the farms in fee simple. Under this method, the SADC purchases farms outright from willing sellers, then resells them at auction with agricultural deed restrictions in place. Prior to the Garden State Preservation Trust Act, approximately 3,100 acres had been preserved under the fee simple program over the past 10 years. Proceeds from all auction sales are returned to the Farmland Preservation Program and used to preserve other New Jersey farms.

The State Agriculture Development Committee administers the Farmland Preservation Program. To date, 419 farms totaling 62,231 acres have been permanently protected through the program, with an additional 14,804 acres approved for preservation.