Today, the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), which is responsible for administering the state’s farmland preservation program, approved the next grant funding round for farmland preservation. This funding round was made possible by the passage of the Preserve New Jersey Act at the end of June. The Preserve New Jersey Act allocated funds from the constitutional dedication for open space preservation and stewardship that was overwhelmingly supported by voters in 2014.
“We are thrilled that SADC has decided to swiftly move forward with the farmland preservation funding rounds,” said Kelly Mooij, Coordinator of Keep It Green. “Preserving farmland keeps our hard working family farmers on their land, adds to our economy by helping to ensure a viable agricultural industry, and provides fresh, locally grown food for our citizens. This type of preservation is a great investment, and we applaud SADC moving ahead with this significant round of funding.”
With the SADC announcement, long stalled state, county, local government and non-profit preservation projects will move forward. In total, $65.3 million will be available for this year projects. This figure includes money from revenue collected through the constitutional dedication over the past two years, as well as roughly $20 million from the discontinued diesel retrofit program. If approved by the Garden State Preservation Trust and appropriated by the Legislature, non-profits, which can uniquely leverage funds from government and private donations, can expect about 5% of the total funds ($2.9 million) during this grant funding round.
“The Keep It Green coalition has worked tirelessly over the past two year to gets preservation funds on the ground, and we are pleased to see the first funding rounds at SADC so quickly after passing the Preserve New Jersey Act,” said Ed Potosnak, Chair of Keep It Green. “Farmland preservation is critical to New Jersey economy and way of life and we look forward to Green Acres and historic preservation programs following the lead of SADC soon.”