FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ (Warren County) – The Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced the permanent preservation of its 300th farm.
A third-generation family farm that primarily grows corn, soybean, wheat, and hay, the more than 388 acre Hart Farm in Franklin Township was preserved on June 25 and adjoins several other preserved farms to create an impressive farm belt consisting of more than 743 contiguous acres of permanently protected land.
The farm is predominantly tillable, boasting about 270 acres of prime soils and soils of
“The preservation of our 300th farm happens to coincide with the release of a recent report by the American Farmland Trust, revealing that 11 million acres of agricultural land nationwide were paved over, fragmented, or converted to other uses between 2001 and 2016,” Director of Preservation for Warren County Corey Tierney said.
According to that report, Farms Under Threat: The State of The States, “The United States is home to 10 percent of the planet’s arable soils – the most of any country on Earth. Yet even here, in what appears to be a vast agricultural landscape, only 18 percent of the continental U.S. is nationally significant land [i.e., the most productive versatile and resilient land for sustainable food and crop production]. As we face growing demand for high quality food and environmental protection along with increasingly complex challenges from epidemics, extreme weather, and market disruptions, it is especially important to protect the land best suited to intensive food and crop production.” However, despite these threats, the American Farmland Trust ranked New Jersey
as Number 1 for utilizing a number of tools to help protect its farmland and farmers. Chief among them is the state’s successful farmland preservation program.
Michele Byers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation – an organization that worked with the Hart family and the County for many years in an effort to see this land preserved – congratulated Warren County on its milestone.