TRENTON, N.J. – The process for determining the value of farmland acquired for preservation could soon be updated in the farmer’s favor under a bill that passed the Assembly on Thursday. Assemblymen Alex Sauickie and Rob Clifton sponsor the legislation that creates a new appraisal formula for the state’s Farmland Preservation Program.
“From limiting suburban sprawl to providing locally grown produce, preserved farmlands benefit communities in so many ways. In order to encourage farmers to participate in the preservation program, New Jersey needs to ensure that farmers are getting a fair deal and purchase offers reflect the true value of their land,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said.
The bill (A4729) makes changes to the appraisal formula to include other relevant factors such as the value of farmland in nearby towns and counties and the importance of preserving farmland in the area. The State Agriculture Development Committee, which oversees the preservation program, would be required to use whatever appraisal process resulted in the higher value as the basis for negotiations with the landowner.
“Considering the bigger picture than just comparable sales protects the future of farmland preservation in New Jersey,” Clifton (R-Monmouth) said. “The preservation program is an investment in the Garden State. Farmers deserve to know they are making a wise financial decision.”
The bill is supported by the New Jersey Farm Bureau, North Hanover Township, Jackson Township Council, the Burlington County Agriculture Development Board, the Ocean County Agriculture Development Board, and the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey.
Since the program’s inception 40 years ago, New Jersey has preserved 248,009 acres of farmland.