About the CADB
While Hunterdon County has lost some of its scenic vistas of rolling cornfields and dairy barns, agriculture is still alive and well. Hunterdon County continues to have a large land area of farms: 127,043 farmland assessed acres according to the 2005 NJ Farmland Assessment. This number amounts to about 39% of the total acreage of the County and 13.6% of New Jersey’s total farmland. The average farm size in Hunterdon County is 72 acres according to the 2002 Census of Agriculture. There is a trend towards high value crops and specialty crops and animals, such as vegetables, horticulture and organic foods and herbs. Horse farms continue to be popular, hence the market for the County's large hay production.
Hunterdon County's Farmland Preservation Program is administered by the CADB.
CADB Mission Statement
To define the CADB's role in farmland preservation and to help guide future policies, the following mission statement and program objectives were adopted by the CADB: "Promote the present and future of Hunterdon County agriculture by preserving agricultural land and by promoting public education and agricultural viability."
CADB Program Objectives
- Create critical masses of preserved farmland.
- Preserve farms characterized by soils of prime and statewide importance.
- Give priority to farms with implemented soil conservation plans.
- Coordinate CADB preservation efforts with State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), municipal, and nonprofit organization farmland preservation efforts.
- Promote the education of farmers, government officials, and the public about farmland preservation, the Right to Farm Act, and other pertinent agricultural matters.
- Work with municipal, county, and state agencies and nonprofit organizations to encourage tourism.
- Promote agribusiness opportunities through education and advocacy.
- Promote soil and water stewardship on preserved farms by requiring an implemented soil conservation plan that is periodically updated.
HUNTERDON COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PRESERVATION PLAN - 2008
FINAL: Hunterdon County Comprehensive Preservation Plan 2008
(Note this is a large PDF document, it has been broken down for easier downloading and convenience - a full download link is also available)
Agriculture in Hunterdon County
Hunterdon County continues to be a leader in agriculture. Below are some current statistics according the NJ Department of Agriculture's 2006 Annual Report and the 2002 Census of Agriculture. Hunterdon County Leads the State in:
- Number of farms
- Total Cropland
- Hay production
- Number of farms with cattle
- Number of farms and total number of beef cows
- Number of sheep
Why Preserve Farms?
Farmland is a non-renewable resource - when it's gone it's gone forever. With the current rate of development in Hunterdon County, farmland is vanishing before our eyes.
The question to ask is: "Why preserve farmland?" The population in Hunterdon County has increased by nearly 40% since 1980. More people means more development. Unfortunately, the land that is best for development is typically prime farmland. With the farmland preservation program, the quality and location of farms can be targeted to preserve and prevent them from being permanently lost to development.
Agriculture offers a special quality of life that most residents in Hunterdon County enjoy. It stabilizes property taxes because farms require less governmental services than residential development. It also maintains clean air by generating little traffic, provides fresh local produce, and offers attractive vistas.
The majority of residents in Hunterdon County depend on ground water for their drinking water supply. Farmland provides groundwater recharge areas. These are areas that allow rain water to filter back into the ground. In turn, by preserving farmland, we are contributing to the conservation of water.
Through various public forums and opinion surveys, Hunterdon County residents have clearly stated their desire to preserve the County's rural character. The Hunterdon County Farmland Preservation Program and newly adopted Open Space Trust Fund are aggressively seeking to achieve this goal.
In November 1998, statewide funding for farmland preservation dramatically increased with the establishment of a dedicated funding source. The Garden State preservation trust, on average, will allocate $60 million dollars per year for ten years to farmland preservation efforts. With this substantial increase in funding, the Hunterdon County Farmland Preservation Program has an opportunity to preserve farms unlike ever before. To date, Hunterdon County has nearly 7,000 acres of preserved farmland. The County's Farmland Preservation Program will continue to be active in helping maintain an economically viable agricultural industry.
Permanently Preserved Farms as of December 31, 2015
Farmland Preservation Application Forms
County Planning Incentive Grant Program (CPIG)
The CADB is now taking applications for the County Planning Incentive Grant Program.
County Planning Incentive Grant Application for landowners File 1 (Word Format)
County Planning Incentive Grant Application for landowners File 2 (PDF format)
Municipal Planning Incentive Grant (PIG)
Municipal PIG Farm Applications, must be submitted by the municipality.
Please contact your municipality for details on their Municipal Farmland Preservation Program.