(TRENTON) – Two bills Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker sponsored to fund farmland preservation were signed into law by the governor on Monday, after receiving unanimous approval in both houses of the legislature.
“Agriculture is one of the largest components of New Jersey’s economy, so supporting that industry is critical for our state,” said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). “Some of the biggest challenges in farming are access to land and capital. These appropriations will help ease that financial burden.”
The first new law (A-4582) provides a total of $32.5 million in farmland preservation grants around the state. The sum includes $4 million in grants for communities in the 16th Legislative District, with $1 million each going to Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset counties. The legislation also makes each of these counties eligible for additional grants of up to $5 million. In total, the funds would cover up to 80 percent of the cost of acquiring easements for farmland preservation purposes.
The second new law (A-4584) appropriates $7.5 million in farmland preservation grants, including a $500,000 grant for Delaware Township in Hunterdon County.
“Farmland preservation is the foundation of the agriculture industry,” said Zwicker. “In addition to providing direct economic benefits to the entire state, investing in farmland preservation creates stability for New Jersey’s farmers, helps limit sprawl and preserves the beauty of our communities.”