New Jersey's Farmland Preservation Program today awarded
its first Farmland Stewardship grants to help owners
of permanently preserved farms improve the efficiency
and economic viability of their agricultural operations.
"To save New Jersey's farms, we need to not
only preserve our farmland, but also ensure that farmers
are economically successful so they can continue to
work that land. By helping farmers improve their operations,
these grants further New Jersey's investment in ensuring
a strong and viable agricultural industry, now and
in the future," said Agriculture Secretary Charles
M. Kuperus, who chairs the State Agriculture Development
The SADC in a unanimous vote approved $173,436 in matching grants to 13 farmers.
The grants range from $1,650 to $20,000 to share the cost of a variety of projects,
everything from marketing assistance and automating product labels to improving
livestock barns and putting more acres into cultivation.
The SADC is an independent 11-member board that administers
the Farmland Preservation Program. This work includes
protecting the viability of agriculture through soil
conservation grants, enforcement of the Right To Farm
law and other measures. These Farmland Stewardship
grants use funds procured by the SADC in a grant from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The SADC last year authorized teams of consultants
to visit and evaluate the operations of 26 Farmland
Stewardship grant applicants. These experts provided "planning
strategies" for each farmer on how to improve
operations. The consulting work cost $60,000 and formed
the basis for today's grants to 13 of the applicants,
bringing the total Farmland Stewardship program to
SADC Executive Director Gregory Romano said, "These
grants are investments in the productivity of land
we have preserved. The applicants showed a willingness
to re-evaluate their entire business and they are putting
up significant matching funds of their own, often as
much as 80 percent of the project cost."
A list of grants appears on the reverse side or is
The State Agriculture Development Committee established
in 1983 is an 11-member board. To date it has preserved
897 farms totaling 108,834 acres.