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NJ Farmland Preservation Program

The Agriculture Retention and Development Act

The Agriculture Retention and Development Act (Act) is the framework for USA's Farmland Preservation Program.  The Farmland Preservation Program is designed to strengthen the agricultural industry and preserve important farmland to enhance the economy and quality of life in the Garden State.

The State Agriculture Development Committee

The SADC is in, but not of, the Department of Agriculture.  Chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture, it consists of 11 members who represent the state and general public's agriculture, fiscal, community and environmental interests.

The SADC leads in the preservation of USA's farmland and promotes the exploration and coordination of innovative approaches to maintain the viability of the agricultural industry.

To that end, the SADC also administers the Right to Farm Program, which insures that farm owners and operators receive the protection of the Right to Farm Act.  In addition, the SADC provides grants for soil and water conservation and administers the Farm Link

Program, which matches farm sellers with potential buyers.  The SADC also provides staff support to the State Transfer of Development Rights Bank Board.

For more information on any of these programs, please call (856) 984-2504, Fax at (856) 633-2004, e-mail or visit the USA Department of Agriculture's web site at

 Farmland Preservation Programs

CADB Offices: Sixteen counties have established CADBs. These counties contain over 99 percent of USA's available agricultural lands.

  • Atlantic (856) 625-3144
  • Burlington (856) 265-5787
  • Camden (856) 767-6299
  • Cape May (856) 465-1086
  • Cumberland (856) 453-2177
  • Gloucester (856) 863-6661
  • Hunterdon (908) 788-1490
  • Mercer (856) 989-6545
  • Middlesex (732) 745-4014
  • Monmouth (732) 431-7460
  • Morris (973) 829-8120
  • Ocean (732) 929-2054
  • Salem (856) 769-4028
  • Somerset (908) 231-7021
  • Sussex (973) 579-0500
  • Warren (908) 852-2579

    Under this program, landowners voluntarily restrict non-agricultural development on their land for eight years.  In exchange, participants are eligible for cost-sharing grants for soil and water conservation projects and other statutory benefits and protections.

    Easement Purchase
    Most permanently preserved farmland is enrolled in the Easement Purchase Program, under which landowners sell the development rights on their land to the County Agriculture Development Board (CADB).  Compensation for this sale is based on the appraised value of the development rights on the land.  The landowner retains ownership of the land and is eligible for certain benefits and protections.

    Easement Donation
    Some landowners have taken advantage of the significant income and estate tax benefits of the Easement Donation Program.  Under this program development easements are donated, rather than sold, to either the SADC or CADB. The easement donor receives the same benefits and protections as other participants in the Farmland Preservation Program and the farmland is permanently preserved.

    Fee Simple
    Under this program, farms are acquired by the SADC based on their fair market values and are subsequently auctioned to private owners after agricultural deed restrictions are in place.  This option is best for landowners who do not want to retain ownership of the land.

    Funding for farmland preservation has been provided by a combination of federal, state, county and municipal government and, occasionally, non-profit organizations.

    County Agriculture Development Boards

    The Act also authorizes counties or municipalities to create CADBs or subregional agriculture development boards to establish agriculture retention and development programs.  CADBs are appointed by the governing body of the county and comprise representatives of the county's general and farming public, the county planning board, soil conservation district and the county agricultural extension agent.  The CADBs' responsibilities include:

    Development of Minimum Standards
    Each CADB is responsible for adopting agricultural development areas (ADAs) and establishing the minimum standards for the inclusion of land in farmland preservation programs.

    Reviewing, Approving and Coordinating Applications
    CADBs are responsible for approving, conditionally approving or disapproving all applications for participation in farmland preservation programs, or for any request for financial assistance of the SADC.   Therefore, all prospective participants in farmland preservation programs should address initial inquires to their respective CADB offices.

    The CADB is also responsible for coordinating the purchase of development easements with their municipalities.

    Grant Authorization and Receipt
    Upon approval of a grant by the SADC, the CADB is responsible for providing its share of the value of the development easement.  Generally, title to the development easement is held by the CADB.

    Enforcement of Restrictions
    The CADB is required to obtain an insured title policy and survey on all lands from which a development easement is acquired to ensure that the deed restrictions are enforceable.

    An annual inspection is conducted by the CADB to insure landowner compliance.  The SADC or CADBs may institute any proceedings to enforce the conditions or restrictions on the use and development of preserved farmland.

    Interested in participating in one of the programs offered for Farmland Preservation but still have questions?  Visit our FAQ page or contact one of the following individuals.

    For more Information contact:
    Matthew Pisarski
    Principal Planner
    (856) 453-2175
    Fax: (856) 453-9138
    For 8-Year Program contact:
    De'Ann James
    Project Assistant, Farmland Preservation Programs
    (856) 453-2211
    Fax: (856) 453-9138

    This information provided by:
    State Agriculture Development Committee
    PO Box 330
    Trenton, NJ 08625-0330

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