BRUNSWICK)-Governor James E. McGreevey announced today
that New Jersey has permanently preserved 100,000 acres
of farmland - an achievement that has helped make the
state a national leader in farmland preservation.
"This 100,000 acre milestone is important not
only for agriculture, but for the smart growth of New
Jersey," said McGreevey. "Farmland preservation
protects our working landscapes so that future generations
will have the land they need to farm. That is why in
my State of the State address yesterday, I promised
to preserve 20,000 acres of farmland a year. By limiting
sprawl and preserving open space we are also protecting
the quality of life throughout New Jersey's communities."
"Farmland preservation is an important part of our efforts to keep New Jersey
agriculture strong. By preserving our farms and targeting new economic development
opportunities to make agriculture profitable, we can retain our working landscapes,
keep today's farmers on the land and encourage future generations to carry on
New Jersey's agricultural legacy," said Agriculture Secretary Charles M.
New Jersey has preserved 100,000 acres, approximately
12 percent, of its estimated 830,000 acres of available
farmland - a higher percentage than any other state.
The State's farmland preservation program helps meet
the Governor's goal for smart growth by keeping communities
green, open and productive.
"Sprawl consumes more than a million acres of
American farmland every year. New Jersey has taken
a leadership role in addressing this critical problem
by making farmland preservation an important part of
the solution. We applaud New Jersey's commitment to
its farmers and agriculture, and offer congratulations
on achieving this important milestone in saving the
land that sustains us all," said Edward Thompson,
Jr., Senior Vice President for Public Policy at American
Farmland Trust, a national nonprofit farmland conservation
"The Nature Conservancy is delighted with the
impressive progress the State has made with preserving
100,000 acres of farmland in New Jersey," said
Michael Catania, Executive Director of the New Jersey
Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. "We are also
very pleased that farms like the Giamarese farm are
being preserved since they are critical to the quality
of life in our more developed neighborhoods. We look
forward to working with the Governor as we seek to
protect open space and to meet smart growth goals throughout
About the Giamarese farm and the farmland preservation
The Governor made the announcement at the Giamarese
farm in East Brunswick, which officially entered the
state Farmland Preservation Program in December and
put New Jersey over the 100,000-acre preservation mark.
The 35-acre fruit and vegetable farm, owned by Jim
and Susan Giamarese, annually attracts tens of thousands
of visitors with its active farm market, pick-your-own
operations, school tours and seasonal attractions.
The State Agriculture Development Committee administers
the state's Farmland Preservation Program. The Farmland
Preservation Program was established in January 1983,
which makes this month the 20th anniversary of the
East Brunswick Township purchased the development
easement on the Giamarese farm for $1.6 million in
2000 and applied to sell it to Middlesex County. The
State Agriculture Development Committee provided the
county with a preservation cost-sharing grant of $678,245
and Middlesex County paid an additional $226,081.
Continued commitment to smart growth and farmland
In his State of the State address yesterday, the
Governor outlined ways the State can help target new
development to urban centers and older suburbs, control
sprawl, and protect the State's most valuable natural
- Preserving 20,000 acres of farmland a year to
preserve rural areas.
- Creating or upgrading 200 local parks and adding
at least two state parks in the next three years
and planting 100,000 new trees across the Garden
- Devoting at least an additional $100 million over
the next three years-a 15 percent increase-to open
space protection in areas such as the Highlands.
- Creating an incentive for conservation by implementing
a limited time capital gains tax waiver for landowners
who sell their property to the State's open space
The Governor also stated his unequivocal commitment
to combating overdevelopment and sprawl by giving local
governments the power they need to fight developers
and protect their residents, including:
Making county and regional planning authorities more
effective and professional since the negative impacts
of development are not limited to the boundaries of individual
- Empowering towns with the legal and zoning tools
to control and manage future development.
- Allowing municipalities to impose a one-year building
- Establishing impact fees so that developers, not
taxpayers, bear the burdens for the cost of new roads