Farming and Agriculture
Farmland is a key economic and environmental resource for New Jersey, ranking third in importance to the state’s economy behind pharmaceuticals and tourism. A strong farm economy not only supports employment, commerce and agriculturally related tourism, but also strengthens the state’s local food system, helping to ensure access to healthy food for all residents.
In 2007, more than 80 percent of New Jersey’s farmland was in crop production, supplying apples, blueberries, cranberries, peaches, strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, hay and soybeans, with a market value of nearly $850 million. Livestock production represented another $138 million in market value.
Growth in New Jersey, however, has put the state’s farm economy at risk. From 1982 to 2007, New Jersey lost approximately 27 percent of its agricultural land to development. This trend has slowed recently, cutting in half the rate of loss, from more than 6 percent between 1997 and 2002 to less than 3 percent between 2002 and 2007.
Smart growth supports the preservation of farmland by directing development away from agricultural land and preserving that land for farm use. A range of mechanisms at both the state and local levels – including low-density residential and agricultural zoning, preservation easements, transfers and purchases of development rights, cluster development, development buffers, right-to-farm legislation, permitting farm stands by right and favorable tax policies for agricultural production — have been used to prioritize the preservation of agricultural land.
New Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly approves the cluster development bill, which could see a Senate vote as soon as May 13.
The process that will lead to adoption of the State Strategic Plan is moving forward once again, with a final public hearing now scheduled.
Incentives for solar facility development on brownfields and landfills should be made more attractive than incentives to develop on farmland and other open lands.
A new report from New Jersey Future examines the use of non-contiguous clustering in nine New Jersey municipalities as a land-preservation tool.
New Jersey is the first state in the nation to have a comprehensive sustainability program that supports community efforts to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental equity. Of the state’s 566 municipalities, 359 are registered and working toward Sustainable Jersey certification, and nearly 75 percent of New Jersey’s population lives in one of those communities.
Oct. 22, 2014 — At the ballot box this Nov. 4, the Legislature has given the citizens a new opportunity to support and fund open-space, farmland and historic preservation, by approving a re-allocation of a portion of the share of corporate business taxes that is currently dedicated to various environmental programs.
This report from New Jersey Future examines the use of non-contiguous clustering as a land-preservation tool in nine New Jersey municipalities. May 2012.
Some frequently-asked questions about how smart growth would affect New Jersey’s future development, including how it affects traffic, taxes, and land preservation.
Trransfer of development rights (TDR) and clustering are tools that municipalities in New Jersey can use to direct growth and preserve open space.
January 20, 2012 — Press coverage of S3156, the recently signed law to change New Jersey’s water quality rule, has been dominated by two opposing positions. The building community has insisted that the existing rule be scaled back and delayed to allow more opportunities for development projects on open lands in order to create jobs and jump-start the economy. Environmentalists, meanwhile, have focused on the bill’s adverse impact on the state’s drinking water supplies.
Reports, Presentations and Testimony
- New Jersey Future Van Abs 2014 Pinelands Growth Area Water Assessment
- 05/17/2012: Testimony on S1925 to the Senate Environment Committee
- Case Studies of Non-Contiguous Clustering in New Jersey 04-12
- 04/02/2012: NJFuture Comments to State Planning Commission on Draft State Strategic Plan
- Cluster Presentation - NJ Farm Bureau 1-4-2012
- Executive Order-78
- Smart Growth NJ August 2011 Poll Report
- Presentation: Affordable Land Preservation Tools 6-1-11
- Notes on Affordable Land Preservation Tools 6-1-11
- Rethinking Farmland Preservation in New Jersey 05-01
- A New Vision for the Highlands 02-04