The $600 Million Question

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country, so preserving its open land is a priority for many of its residents. But the Garden State Preservation Trust is out of money, and the state legislature has until the end of June to put funding it on the November ballot. Gary Mount, the owner of Terhune Orchards, and Peter Furey, the executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, talk about why farmland is critical to New Jersey's economy.


Peter Furey and Gary Mount

Comments [10]

Bill F. from Washington Township NJ

Terence, I agree with giving the voters the right to decide on funding for these issues. The problem is that they are all covered in one proposal called "Farmland Preservation" Each issue should be put forward as it's own proposal so the voters can decide on the merits of each.

Jeff Tietel seems to be the only environmental advocate that gets any publicity. If there are others they should also be asked to comment.

Jun. 17 2009 08:11 PM
Terrence from Morris County

Fair enough to raise the point Bill, but I for one am pro parks in urban areas as well as farmland preservation, watershed protection and historic preservation. We have an opportunity to preserve land in a down market. If we squander this one opportunity we should be ashamed. Why wouldn't we give voters a chance to weigh in here?

Also - frankly, haven't we all hear enough from Jeff Tittel?

Jun. 16 2009 09:06 PM
Bill F. from Washington Township NJ

Brian should realize that there are alternative points of view about the $600 million bond issue. It is advertised as for farmland preservation, however, the proposed bond issue also covers historical sight restoration and preservation, as well as grants for parks and recreation. The problem with the last partis that many local municipalities apply for and receive funds that are advertised for "farm land preservation" and "open spaces" and "green acres" that end up artificial turf athletic fields, black top walkways, parking, tennis coutrs, basketball courts, etc. all of which have nothing to do with farmland or green acres preservation. This is especially prevalent in the northern suburban areas of the state where space is at a premium.

Another problem is that two years ago a $200MM bond issue was approved as a stop gap measure pending the legislature and governor coming up with a permanent source of funds.
That money still hasn't been used and the government hasn't come up with a permanent funding source so they are proposing the $600MM bond issue.

It would be good to get some balanced viewpoints on the show such as the head of the NJ Sierra Club, Jeff Tittel or someone from the Bergen Record. They did a piece on the subject just a week ago.

However the issue is resolved it would be good to divide the funding into separate proposals for 1) farmland preservation, 2)historical site preservation, 3)parks and recreation facilities. They should limit the funding for farmland preservation to farmers who farm as their primary occupation and those who go organic. Funds for parks and recreation should exclude artificial fields.

If the state is going to fund alternative energy and environmental conservation then it should extend to this type of proposal also.

Jun. 15 2009 04:14 PM

Don't ask about organic to a Preservation Trust Farmer unless you wanna see a grown man cry.

Because the land is not theirs they have no incentive to bring the earth alive and grow organic.

It's time for "Organic Conversion" bonuses paid to these Preservation Trust Farmers to empower them to boost the health of NJ's centuries old soil.

Jun. 15 2009 01:05 PM
JP from Garden State

Where’s all the slow food movement folks!!! You people should be screaming and flooding this page right now!!!! No farmland anywhere should be turned into housing. We need all the farmland we can get everywhere in this county to feed 300 million people and counting!!!

Jun. 15 2009 11:43 AM
Brian from Weehawken, NJ

As soon as the farms disappear, they will be replaced by more "luxury condos" and McMansions, exacerbating urban sprawl, highway traffic, overall pollution and degradation of quality of life. Why import our food when it can and should be grown locally?

Jun. 15 2009 11:42 AM

These parents will vote yes to fund some farms for their kids to visit on the weekend but not vote to fund public schools!? Anyways...If everyone loves New Jersey produce so much then they must be willing to pay more for it. I mean of course there will be demand for SUBSIDIZED goods below market. How about this I'll support it if some of the money goes to bus kids from Newark and Jersey City out to these farms, see if they support THAT!

Jun. 15 2009 11:40 AM
David Park

I'm from New Jersey, and I can't see why there is some kind of downside to having the choice. I think that even in this age, there's something to be said for unprocessed land and food that's grown close to home. It's easy to look over but I support this ideal. We're the Garden State for goodness sake! Turnpike exits 13-16 aside.

Jun. 15 2009 11:39 AM
Linda Jones from NYC

Farmland preservation is very important for national security reasons. In various emergencies, it might be impossible to get adequate food from California or Mexico (for example). We'd have to rely on our local supply.

New Jersey farmland is very necessary to us in New York City.

Jun. 15 2009 11:37 AM
Jennifer from NYC

Yeah great - locally grown - if only more NJ farms would grow organic!

Jun. 15 2009 11:36 AM

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