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Release Date: July 24, 2008
On July 22nd, the Sussex County Farmland Preservation program celebrated a special milestone with the preservation of over 100 farms. NJ Agriculture Secretary Charles Kuperus was on hand to praise the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Sussex County Agriculture Development Board for their ongoing efforts to preserve good farmland.
Farmland Preservation Milestone for Sussex County
On July 22nd, the Sussex County Farmland Preservation program celebrated a special milestone with the preservation of over 100 farms. NJ Agriculture Secretary Charles Kuperus was on hand to praise the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Sussex County Agriculture Development Board for their ongoing efforts to preserve good farmland. Joining the Secretary was Senator Oroho, Assemblywoman McHose, Assemblyman Chiusano, and Freeholders Wirth, Vetrano and Parrott. This celebration also brought together the State and County programs with the Morris Land Conservancy who became a partner in the preservation of four farms - Eick and Vendetti in Stillwater, Fritz in Andover and Stoll in Frankford. Through innovative partnerships such as these, more land is able to be preserved with the limited financial resources allocated to these programs. The event took place at the John and Whitney Eick farm in Stillwater Township where sheep, sheepherding dogs and rolling hayfields provided a scenic vista of the best Sussex County has to offer.
Secretary Kuperus (left), Stretch (center) and John Eick (right)
The Farmland Preservation program, slow starting in the late 1980's, has picked up momentum in the last decade. Over 12,500 acres have been preserved on 106 farms - with more to come. Last year alone, the County approved 29 farms for the program and this year, 24 are being recommended. One of the strong points of this program is that, after the development easement is sold to the county, the landowner still retains ownership of their property. It is permanently restricted for agricultural use - thereby preserving the quality of rural life for all residents in our county. The County has long recognized that it is not enough to just preserve the farm, but to assist the farmer as well in remaining viable. Efforts to promote agritourism, the development of value added agricultural products and conservation programs are all offered to assist our Sussex County farmers. Agriculture is an important business in our Garden State.
From left to right, Senator Stephen Oroho, David Epstein, Freeholder Deputy Director Glen Vetrano, Whitney Eick, John Eick, Agriculture Secretary Charles Kuperus, Assemblywoman Allison McHose, Freeholder Director Hal Wirths, Freeholder Jeff Parrot, Assemblyman Gary Chiusano.