Middlesex County safeguarded a 35-acre farm located in Monroe through the Farmland Preservation Program.
The county, in partnership with the State of New Jersey and the Township of Monroe, purchased the development rights for the farmland located on Federal Road, owned by the estate of the late Mr. Anthony Zimbicki, Sr., of Monroe Township, for the total of $945,837.
The state contributed $567,502.20, the county paid $189,167.40, and Monroe Township paid $189,167.40 towards the purchase, according to information provided by the county after the May 26 purchase.
“The Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners has always had a commitment to preserving land within our beautiful county, evident in our thousands of acres of farmland and open space already preserved,” Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald Rios said in the statement. “We look forward to continuing to preserve more farmland properties and protecting them from non-agricultural development as it’s an investment in all of our futures. Farmland preservation is the first step to ensuring food is available for generations to come.”
Overall, with the addition of this farm, more than 5,459 acres of farmland have been preserved throughout the county, of which 3,746 acres have been specifically preserved through the Farmland Preservation Program, according to the statement. The more than 5,400 acres includes preservation easements purchased through the county Farmland Preservation Program funds, as well as acquisitions made directly by the state, the municipalities, a non-profit organization, and State-owned lands.
Middlesex County’s Farmland Preservation Program purchases the non-agriculture development rights on farmland that meets criteria established by the Middlesex County Agriculture Development Board and the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee. The value is determined by two independent appraisals, and the farmland is preserved by placing an agriculture preservation easement on the property, according to the statement. The state, county and municipality share the cost of the farms’ development rights, with the state contributing much of the purchase price.
Middlesex County’s program is strictly voluntary; farmland owners interested in participating in the program must submit a formal application to the Middlesex County Agriculture Development Board. Farm owners interested in the program can contact Laurie Sobel, supervising planner of the Middlesex County Office of Planning, at 732-745-4014.