(HAMPTON TOWNSHIP) - A 70-acre horse and
cattle farm in Hampton Township is the newest addition
to Sussex County's roster of preserved farmland as
the county steps up momentum of its farmland preservation
efforts, Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus announced
"Sussex County officials are to be commended for their exceptional efforts
to preserve farmland and keep agriculture vibrant and viable in this fast-growing
area," said Secretary Kuperus. "We will continue to work vigorously
with them to preserve more farms in this beautiful county." Kuperus chairs
the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), which administers the state
Farmland Preservation Program.
To date, Sussex County has preserved 45 farms totaling
7,404 acres - 25 of them in just the past 30 months.
All of the farms were preserved by the purchase of
development rights in cooperation with the SADC.
The Sussex County Agriculture Development Board has
been instrumental in the purchase of every preserved
farm except for two spearheaded by the Nature Conservancy.
Andrew and Lisa Fairclough said they were pleased
to preserve their farm, a 70-acre tract in rolling
green hills along a still-rural section of Plotts
"Several years ago with all of the building that is going on in Hampton
Township, we realized that we wanted to keep the acreage intact and we wanted
to keep the animals on the farm," said Lisa Fairclough. "When the farmland
preservation people approached us, we thought it was a great idea."
The Faircloughs have a specialized equine operation,
raising and training polo ponies. They also keep
a small herd of Angus beef cattle during parts of
the season. The Faircloughs said they intend to reinvest
the funds they received for preserving their farm
to buy two neighboring farms that have been already
been preserved by Hampton Township in partnership
with Sussex County.
The easements on Sussex County's 45 preserved farms
restrict them for permanent agricultural use while
the land remains privately owned. These easements
have cost $20.4 million, with county and local officials
contributing $6.6 million of the cost and the state
contributing $13.8 million.