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Senate Advances Farmland Preservation Bills

Trenton – The Senate today passed a series of bills that would appropriate money for various farmland preservation purposes from constitutionally dedicated corporate business tax revenue.

S-3225, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, would appropriate $11.5 million to the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) for municipal planning incentive grants.

Under the Municipal Planning Incentive Grants program, 10 municipalities would be eligible to receive a base grant of either $500,000 or $1,000,000. Additionally, these municipalities and 35 additional municipalities will be eligible to compete to receive an additional grant up to $500,000 from the Competitive Grant Fund.

“Preserving the farmlands within municipalities can be an expensive feat, and these grants will be influential in helping to preserve these green spaces,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Our reputation is the ‘Garden State’ after all, and these funds will help our state maintain this reputation for years to come.”

S-3226, sponsored by Senator Dawn Addiego, would appropriate $29,886,172 to the SADC for farmland preservation purposes. These funds would go towards helping the committee, counties, municipalities and nonprofits acquire farmland for preservation.

“With this bill, it is vitally important that we not only maintain our farmlands and open space, but make this an easier process all around,” said Senator Addiego (D-Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “These grants will be a great assistance to preserve our land and create a smoother, more efficient process.”

S-3228, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, would appropriate $12 million to the SADC for county planning incentive grants for eligible farmland preservation projects. Under the bill, seven counties are currently eligible for the planning incentive grants, which award up to 80% of the cost of acquisition of development easements.

“Our farmlands are a fundamental part of our state, and it is imperative that we do all that we can to preserve them for generations to come,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “With this bill, seven counties will be granted the assistance they need in order to protect these lands for a long time.”

View the complete list of projects here.