Originally appeared on NJ.com
Dolores Kernan will have her property preserved, adding to the township’s 7,874 acres of preserved farmland.
Hope Gruzlovic, a spokesperson for the State Farmland Preservation Program and the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), said that Upper Pittsgrove is number two in preserved farmland to Upper Freehold in Monmouth County, which has 8,585 acres preserved. She added that there are 198,543 acres preserved statewide. Salem County is number one in preserved farmland through the State Preservation Program, with 29,418 acres.
While Kernan is setting her land up for preservation, she will continue to own the property. Rather than selling the property, she sold the development rights. By doing this, a deed of easement for the development of the land is placed.
“The property becomes restricted in how it can be used,” Cimprich explained.
These restrictions would involve what can be built on the property. No houses or other structures besides those involving farming can be built, and the land can still be farmed.
The funding comes from a Plan Incentive Grant (PIG) from SADC. SADC is funded by the Garden State Preservation Trust. Kernan received $4,200 per acre for the development rights of the land, which is at a net amount of 75.305 acres, totaling $316,281. PIG funding receives an approximate 20 percent match from the county and township each and approximately 60 percent from the state.
“What happens is, each township that is interested is awarded a certain amount of funds,” Cimprich said. “For this case, it was $1.25 million for the acquisition of farmland.”
Part of that money was used for this preservation project.
The SADC provides numerous ways of helping with the preservation process. It can give grants to counties, municipalities and nonprofit groups to pay for the development of the farmland, or offer grants to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of soil and water conservation projects, according to their website. It is also possible for the land to be completely sold to the SADC, though only for property ranging from 92 or more acres.
Cimprich went on to say that the program is a good one, and he hopes it will continue in the upcoming years.
He also mentioned that there are 15 other properties in Upper Pittsgrove totaling 1,100 acres that are approved and set to be put into the state preservation program. In some cases they are waiting for finalization from landowners, Cimprich said, but not all of these properties will necessarily be added for preservation. However, the funding is available and there is better than a 50 percent chance that most of the properties will be added.
Some funding for other land going into preservation may come from the Green Acres or the Federal Farm and Ranch Program.
Several, Cimprich said, fall into the last group.