NEW PROGRAM PERMANENTLY PRESERVES 21 PINELANDS FAR

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NEW PROGRAM PERMANENTLY PRESERVES 21 PINELANDS FARMS

Date: 040109
From: http://www.state.nj.us/pinelands/

Pinelands Commission, January 7, 2004

A total of 21 Pinelands farms covering nearly 1,900 acres were
preserved in the Pinelands in 2003 under a new state program designed
to permanently protect the unique agricultural and ecological
resources of the million-acre Pinelands.

The Pinelands Direct Easement Purchase Program is administered by the
State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) in cooperation with the
New Jersey Pinelands Commission. It was created as a result of 1999
legislation that encouraged the permanent preservation of more land in
the Pinelands.

"Some of New Jersey's most agriculturally and environmentally
important land is located in the Pinelands," said Agriculture
Secretary Charles M. Kuperus, who chairs the SADC. "By permanently
preserving these farms, we are ensuring they continue to contribute to
the state's agricultural industry, and at the same time protecting the
ecological diversity of this important region."

Under the Pinelands Direct Easement Purchase Program, the SADC
purchases the development rights - including Pinelands Development
Credits - on farmland. Because those credits are permanently retired,
the program helps to reduce potential development in Pinelands
Regional Growth Area communities - areas where developers can redeem
credits to increase housing densities.

In addition to the 21 newly preserved farms, another 8 farms totaling
more than 1,000 acres are slated for protection in early 2004 under
this first round of easement purchases. The SADC has allocated $9
million toward the purchase of development rights on farms in this
round, while the Pinelands Commission has provided $2.1 million.

"2003 marked a turning point in the effort to protect farmland in the
Pinelands," said James Florio, Chairman of the New Jersey Pinelands
Commission. "With the enhanced coordination of the Farmland
Preservation Program, Pinelands Development Credit Program and the
agricultural land-use policies of the Pinelands Comprehensive
Management Plan, we now have a better set of tools in place to promote
the long-term viability of the agricultural industry in the
Pinelands."

Prior to last year, of the nearly 800 farms in New Jersey permanently
preserved under the state Farmland Preservation Program, only eight of
those were in the Pinelands. Of those eight, only one was in a
Pinelands management zone where Pinelands Development Credits are
allocated.

The SADC administers the state Farmland Preservation Program, which
was established in 1983. To date, 1,054 farms covering more than
120,000 acres have been permanently preserved statewide.

The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), authorized by the
State and Federal Pinelands Protection Acts in the late 1970s, sets
standards for the protection of Pinelands natural and cultural
resources. The CMP establishes special management districts where
agricultural land uses are encouraged, including a "right-to-farm"
standard that protects farming operations in agricultural zones.

The Pinelands Direct Easement Purchase Program bolsters the CMP by
providing economically viable land protection options for Pinelands
farmers.

* * *

Contacts:
Hope Gruzlovic, Department of Agriculture, 609-292-8896.
hope.gruzlovic@ag.state.nj.us
Francis Rapa, Pinelands Commission, 609-894-7300.
fran.rapa@njpines.state.nj.us

Pinelands Commission
POB 7
15 Springfield Rd
New Lisbon NJ 08064
T: 609-894-7300
F: 609-894-7330
E: info@njpines.state.nj.us
W: http://www.state.nj.us/pinelands/