Home > Planning Board > CADB > 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.

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Provided by cadb@co.hunterdon.nj.us on October 24 , 2005.