ALLOWAYS CREEK TWP. - Agriculture Secretary
Charles M. Kuperus today joined state legislators
in announcing that Salem County has surpassed a farmland
preservation milestone with the preservation of more
than 100 farms.
"Salem County is an important part of New Jersey
agriculture," said Secretary Kuperus, who chairs
the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC). "By
preserving farmland, we are strengthening our agricultural
industry, ensuring opportunity for tomorrow's farm
families and protecting the quality of life for all
who value the rural character of Salem County."
Also today, Governor James E. McGreevey signed four
bills appropriating $73.2 million for farmland preservation
statewide. They include S-2128 sponsored by Senator
Stephen M. Sweeney, which includes funding to preserve
29 farms covering 3,019 acres in Salem County.
"Our initiative that was signed this morning by the Governor, earmarks more
than $10 million for 3,902 acres of farmland throughout our district, with Salem
securing more than $7 million of those monies," said Senator Sweeney. "Securing
a healthy balance of preserving open space as well as welcoming development can
be a challenging task, yet this measure turns that challenge into a reality."
"Salem County is home to some of the most pristine farmland in South Jersey," said
Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli. "The people who work the land and dedicate
themselves to protect it, are to be commended."
"South Jersey, particularly the 3rd District,
should be proud of its rich agriculture history," said
Assemblyman Douglas H. Fisher. "Congratulations
to Salem County for their tradition and dedication
to preserving farmlands."
The announcement was made at John and Donna Szczechowski's
farm on Harasta Road in Lower Alloways Creek. The approximately
100-acre Szczechowski farm was one of two farms the
SADC preserved on May 28th, lifting Salem County's
preservation totals past the centennial mark to a total
of 102 preserved farms covering 15,317 acres.
The 16-acre Seddon farm in Elsinboro also was preserved
on May 28th.
Of the total $27.6 million cost to purchase development
rights on these 102 farms, the state has contributed
$22.7 million or 82 percent of the cost.
Salem County ranks second in the state in preserved
farmland acreage; 15,838 acres are permanently preserved
in Burlington County.
The State Agriculture Development Committee administers
New Jersey's Farmland Preservation Program. To date,
886 farms covering 107,934 acres have been permanently