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Applications & Important Documents

Agriculture Development Board & Farmland Preservation

Farmland Preservation

The Planning staff works with the Ocean County Agriculture Development Board (OCADB) to administer the Farmland Preservation Program in Ocean County.

The Board was established in 1984 to review and select agricultural land for preservation. The first easement was purchased on the Hallock U-Pick farm in Plumsted Township in 1991. The Natural Lands Trust Fund is used to provide the County's funding match for preserving farmland. As of January 2024, 59 farms totaling 3,573 acres have been preserved.

In recent years approximately 60 percent of the funding to preserve Ocean County farms has been provided by the State Agriculture Development Committee. Once a farm is preserved, the farmer retains ownership of the land and continues to pay taxes on its agricultural value.

Application Process

Farmland preservation applications are submitted to the Ocean County Agriculture Development Board (OCADB) and reviewed by staff for eligibility.Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

  • Applications are ranked according to formula adopted by the State Agriculture Development Board (SADC), which considers such things as farm size, soil type, tillable acres, land uses surrounding the property and local government commitment to agriculture. Farms recommended by the Ocean County Agriculture Development Board will be forwarded to the Natural Lands Trust Fund Committee and the Board of Commissioners for preliminary approval.
  • Two separate appraisal reports are prepared to determine the development value verses the existing agricultural value of the land and these reports are reviewed and certified by the SADC.
  • Applicants approved by the OCADB and the SADC are informed of the development easement values and are then asked to decide whether or not to accept the offer.
  • The Commissioners will hold a public hearing prior to committing funding to preserve the farms.
  • The application process can be lengthy. However, once completed, participating landowners are paid the difference between the value of the property fully developed vs. its agricultural value providing them with the capital to expand their existing operations; eliminate or reduce their debt load; or further their estate or retirement planning.
  • The Ocean County Agriculture Development Board works with and educates farmers, residents, and municipalities about the Right to Farm Act, the Act's formal conflict resolution process, and additional strategies for resolving agriculture-related disputes and supporting a positive agricultural business environment. The Right to Farm Act protects responsible commercial farms from public and private nuisance actions and unduly restrictive municipal regulations. The program also has a formal conflict resolution process to help farmers and neighbors reach voluntary terms and agreements. For more information, please see the NJ SADC Right to Farm website.
Preserved farm owners are eligible to apply for cost-sharing grants for soil and water conservation projects and enjoy limited protection from government eminent domain acquisition, public and private nuisances and emergency restrictions on water and energy supplies.

2024 Meetings

Meetings are scheduled for the 2nd Thursday of every month. Check back regularly for any changes.

Location: Manchester Township Council Meeting Room/Courtroom
1 Colonial Dr,
Manchester Township, NJ 08759

Time: 7:00pm

Thursday, January 11
Thursday, February 8
Thursday, March 14 - Canceled
Thursday, December 12

Time: 8:00pm

Thursday, October 10
Thursday, November 14

Location: New Egypt Town Hall
121 Evergreen Road
Plumsted, NJ 08533

Time: 8:00pm

Thursday, April 11 - Canceled
Thursday, May 9
Thursday, June 13
Thursday, July 11
Thursday, August 8
Thursday, September 12