Eight Year Program – Under this program, landowners voluntarily restrict non-agricultural development on their land for eight years. In exchange, participants are eligible for cost-sharing grants for soil and water conservation projects and other statutory benefits and protections.
Easement Purchase – Most permanently preserved farmland is enrolled in the Easement Purchase Program, under which landowners sell the development rights on their land to the County Agriculture Development Board (CADB). Compensation for this sale is based on the appraised value the development rights on the land. The landowner retains ownership of the land and is eligible for certain benefits and protections.
Easement Donation – Some landowners have taken advantage of the significant income and estate tax benefits of the Easement Donation Program. Under this program development easements are donated, rather than sold, to either the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) or CADB. The easement donor receives the same benefits and protections as other participants in the Farmland Preservation Program and the farmland is permanently preserved.
Fee Simple – Under this program, farms are acquired by the SADC based on their fair market values and are subsequently auctioned to private owners after agricultural deed restrictions are in place. This option is best for landowners who do not want to retain ownership of the land.
If you are interested in participating in any of the programs listed above,
contact the Mercer County Agricultural Development Board (CADB),
Leslie Floyd or Emily Blackman at (609) 989-6545,
or Brian Lofberg with the NJ Agricultural Development Committee at (609) 984-2504.
Conservation Cost Share Program
State funding for conservation incentives and installations is available through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, State Soil Conservation Committee in cooperation with local soil conservation districts. Funds will be used to provide technical assistance and cost-share payments.
State funds for cost-sharing will be added to those funds available from the Federal EQIP program to make an overall larger funding pool available for projects. Applicants will file a USDA and NJDA applications, which will be evaluated and prioritized as a single application in the same manner as EQIP.
Application forms for the EQIP and the State Conservation Cost Share Program can be obtained at your local soil conservation district office or any USDA Service Center.
NRCS Agricultural Assistance in New Jersey
In addition to State and County assistance, producers and farmers in Mercer County may receive technical and financial assistance through provisions in Farm Bill Legislation and the Conservation Technical Assistance Program. Visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service NJ website (http://www.nj.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/) to learn more about programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), Farmland Protection Program (FPP), and Forestry Incentives Program (FIP).