Monmouth County, Howell Township and the New Jersey State Agricultural Development Committee have purchased the development rights of Thompson Farm, 49 Howell Rd, through the State’s Farmland Preservation Program. The $1,158,268 transaction ensures that the 68-acre farm will be devoted to agricultural use.
“Preserving farmland and acquiring open space are two critical pieces of protecting our environment and retaining its natural character,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry. “It is no coincidence that Thompson farm is adjacent to Meade farm, which was the first farm preserved in Monmouth County 29 years ago. Mr. Thompson’s heirs are to be commended for honoring their father by protecting the land on which he toiled for many years.”
The County’s share of the purchase, $277,984, was funded by the Open Space and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. Howell’s share, $185,322, came from the Township’s open space and farmland preservation trust fund along with a grant from the State through the Municipal Planning Incentive Grant Program. The State covered approximately 60% of the purchase.
“An important part of Monmouth County’s culture is its reputation for agriculture,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso. “Maintaining the farming landscape through the preservation program is a sound planning concept. The owners of the property and Howell Township were very cooperative in ensuring the farm’s natural appearance is retained. Maintaining open space is an important concept that was instilled by previous generations and will continue for generations in the future.”
“We are fortunate that the Thompson family was willing to preserve their farm for generations to come,” said Deputy Mayor Rob Nicastro. “Our partnership with Monmouth County and the State Agricultural Development Committee provides a balance in our ongoing battle against over-development.”
“This program enables us to preserve the character of our community and mitigates the conflicting pressures we face from the Courts and builders of so-called affordable housing units,” Nicastro said.