Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders
94 Market Street. Salem, N.J. 08079

CONTACT: Rita Shade Simpson,
Clerk of the Board/Administrator

September 9, 2002


Salem - One out of every two farms approved by the State today in its newest round of funding farmland preservation is from Salem County, Freeholder Dave Sparks said today.

"Of the 58 farms selected by the state today, 29 are Salem County farms. Salem County's 3,019 acres make up 52% of the farmland that received preliminary approval from the State Agriculture Development Committee," said Sparks. "Salem County's farmland is the best. We know that. Today, the rest of the state knows it for sure. And best yet - the state will provide 100% of the funding to purchase the development rights on these Salem County farms."

The County submitted the farmland preservation applications to the state for its direct easement purchase program. In this program, a County does not have to provide a cost-share. The farms now go through an appraisal process.

Only four other farms from South Jersey made it into the top 58 farms chosen for funding. Two are from Cumberland County, and one each from Cape May and Atlantic County. No farm from Gloucester County was approved by the state for funding.

The SADC received 105 applications from across the state. It allocated nearly $22 million to purchase the easements and permanently deed restrict the farmland to agriculture.

"Quite honestly, it is the farms up north that drive up the price to preserve farmland. It will only take about one-third of the state's dollars to buy half of the acreage it selected for preservation," said Director Sparks.

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