Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preservation tops off 20 years of work on Salem County farm, (winter 2010)

ALLOWAY TWP. – Jack and Deborah Cianfrani have spent more than 20 years fixing up the farm they bought in 1988 – rebuilding the farmhouse, renovating old barns, mending fences and reseeding fallow pastures.

The final step came recently, when they permanently preserved 60.5 acres of farmland surrounding their home in Alloway Township, Salem County.

Using state and federal funding, New Jersey Conservation Foundation purchased development rights to the Cianfrani farm, which straddles Quaker Neck Road. Although the Cianfranis continue to own the property, it is now permanently deed-restricted for agricultural use.

“We’d wanted to do this for a long time,” said Jack Cianfrani, an attorney. “Salem County has a lot of preserved land, and that makes it a very nice place to live.”

Cianfrani said he and his wife graze horses and grow hay crops on one section of the farm. A neighboring farmer uses another for growing crops like corn, sorghum and soybeans, and occasionally brings his cows there.

In addition to the farmland, a wooded 10-acre section of the Cianfrani property adds to its high conservation value. It contains wetlands and a headwaters tributary of the Alloway Creek, and is near the Salem River Greenway and Burden Hill Forest.

The easement on the Cianfrani farm – which is bordered on two sides by preserved farmland - was purchased with funding from the State Agriculture Development Committee and the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Preservation Program.

“Salem County already has more than 200 preserved farms, and we’re thrilled to be able to add the Cianfrani property,” said Michele S. Byers, Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “We hope this will encourage nearby property owners to consider permanently preserving their farms and woods.”

Tom Drewes, State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said, "Preserving the Cianfrani property helps protect water quality and prime soils. We are pleased to be able to participate in this important investment in South Jersey's agricultural future." The NRCS administers funds from the Farm and Ranch Lands Preservation Program.

“The State Agriculture Development Committee was happy to assist in the preservation of the Cianfrani farm,” said Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher. “Partnerships like this are key to maximizing opportunities to preserve our farmland, ensure a stable land base for agriculture to thrive and protect the character of our communities.”

New Jersey Conservation Foundation preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, the Foundation has preserved more than 120,000 acres. For more information about New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s projects and preserves, visit or call 908-234-1225.

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