The Middlesex County Farmland Preservation Program is a voluntary program administered by the Middlesex County Agriculture Development Board
(CADB) in conjunction with the Middlesex County Office of Planning
, for the purpose of promoting and facilitating the continued preservation and stewardship of the County’s remaining farmland. The CADB processes landowners’ applications for admittance into the Farmland Preservation Program, in accordance with adopted County and State policies and sound planning principles.
The program is implemented through the State of New Jersey’s Farmland Preservation Program, in which the State, County and municipal partners work together to offer benefits and compensation in return for a landowner’s agreement to accept agricultural deed restrictions on his or her property, prohibiting non-farm development in perpetuity.
Land is eligible for the Farmland Preservation Program if it meets the SADC's minimum eligibility criteria, qualifies for farmland tax assessment and is part of an adopted agricultural development area, an area where the County Agriculture Development Board has determined that farming is viable over the long term.
Please read below and download the attached program fact sheets for more information. Applications are also available for download. Interested landowners should contact the CADB Administrator at the Middlesex County Office of Planning at 732-745-4014 to determine their eligibility for the program, or consult the State Agriculture Development Committee
What Does Farmland Preservation Mean?
Through the process of purchasing development rights, the Farmland Preservation Program ensures that farmland properties will be forever protected for agricultural use. Landowners who have sold their development rights still can sell their land at any time. Deed restrictions prohibiting non-agricultural development run with the land, so future owners of preserved farms also would be required to comply with the deed restrictions.
The sale of development rights does NOT make farmland public property. The public has no right to access or use a deed-restricted farm without the landowner's consent. For landowners, participation in the Farmland Preservation Program means a stronger land base to support New Jersey's agricultural industry, the satisfaction of knowing their land will forever be preserved as farmland, and access to the resources that can help them achieve their personal and financial goals.
For all of us, farmland preservation is an important part of keeping New Jersey green and prosperous. Preserved farmland limits urban sprawl, protects our water and soils, provides us with an abundance of locally grown farm products and maintains our connection to the land and the longstanding agricultural traditions that earned our reputation as the Garden State.
How is Farmland Preserved?
One way that farmland is preserved is through the sale of development easements. Landowners who want to continue farming their land can sell their development easements. When landowners sell development easements, they still own their land but sell the rights to develop it for anything other than agriculture. Those deed restrictions remain in force for any future owners. Landowners can sell the development rights on their land to the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), County Agriculture Development Boards (CADB), municipalities or nonprofit organizations. The sale price is based on the difference between what a developer would pay for the land and what it is worth for agriculture. Most farms have entered the Farmland Preservation Program through the sale of development rights.
In Middlesex County, the County Planning Incentive Grant (“P.I.G.”) Program encourages a comprehensive planning process for farmland preservation at the County level. The program enables counties to accept and process farmland preservation applications year-round, and historically, the State has rewarded counties that complete transactions in a timely manner with the potential for additional funding. The current P.I.G. application is available at a link at the bottom of the page.
Progress To Date
Since its inception in 1985, the Middlesex County Agriculture Development Board (CADB) has succeeded in preserving over 55 farms, totaling over 4,943 acres through the County’s Farmland Preservation Program. Overall, Middlesex County has preserved over 5,000 acres of prime farmland through this program in conjunction with other State and local initiatives.
Forms and Publications