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Laws Would Provide at Least $2 Million in Funding to Municipalities to Preserve Gloucester County Farms

(4th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) — Two pieces of farmland preservation legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty were signed into law Wednesday.

“As the most densely populated state in the country, we must continually strive to protect our state’s valuable tracts of farmland against the ever present encroachment of development,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “The grants provided under these new laws will help cash-strapped municipalities protect our valuable farmland and other open spaces.”

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

Sixteen counties, including Gloucester 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 4th District communities that will benefit from the grants are Franklin Township and Washington Township.

The second law (formerly A-4061) appropriates $23 million to help 43 individual municipalities create development plans that preserve farmland, including a $500,000 grant for Franklin Township.

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.

“Providing funding to protect farmland and create development plans that focus on smart growth and environmental protection will help New Jersey’s agricultural industry and roots both now and for years into the future.”