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Measure Would Help Preserve Farmland Across Middlesex County

(18TH DISTRICT) — Legislation Assemblymen Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr., and Peter J. Barnes III sponsored to help preserve farmland in Middlesex County and across the rest of the state was signed into law Wednesday.

“Helping to preserve New Jersey’s agricultural heritage in a state as populous as New Jersey makes good sense,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Protecting farmland helps control overdevelopment and works to ensure that, years from now, residents will still be able to enjoy Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The new law (formerly A-4060) appropriates $39 million to help counties acquire development easements on farmland for preservation purposes.

The funding for the grants comes from several previously established and bonded farmland preservation sources, including the 2007 and 2009 Farmland Preservation Fund and the Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

Sixteen counties, including Middlesex County, will each receive a base grant amount of $1.5 million to help subsidize the cost of acquiring the development easements. The counties also will be eligible to compete to receive additional funding of up to $3 million each from a competitive grant fund of $15 million, for a total possible grant award of $4.5 million.

The 18th District community of East Brunswick will directly benefit from the grant.

“These grants will help to ensure that, years from now, residents in urban and suburban communities alike continue to have access to fresh, farm grown produce at reasonable prices,” said Barnes (D-Middlesex). “They also help to preserve and continue New Jersey’s rich agricultural heritage.”