Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station | [Cooperative Extension of Salem County]

Contents


  1. Farmland preservation: economic, cultural, and aesthetic benefits
  2. Soil conservation, water quality protection, and wildlife habitat
  3. External links

Farmland preservation: economic, cultural, and aesthetic benefits

The desire to preserve farmland is particularly compelling in places like southern New Jersey where the potential for significant residential, commercial, or urban development exists. Reasons for farmland preservation often include economic, cultural, and aesthetic benefits, such as:

  • preserving the livelihood of local farmers
  • protecting the economic base of rural communities
  • upholding the historical heritage of communities
  • maintaining the scenic aspects of the area

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (2007 Census of Agriculture, link [link-exits-rutgers]), Salem County had 759 farms totaling over 96,000 acres. The average farm size was 127 acres, and the median farm size was 28 acres). Top crops by acreage were soybeans, grain corn, forages, vegetables, and wheat.

[salem-county-distribution]

Distribution in the size of farmlands in Salem County. (From USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2007 Census of Agriculture, link here [link-exits-rutgers] .) Click on image to expand.

The Salem County Agriculture Development Board reported in 2006 that 24,000 acres were preserved in the county (report here [link-exits-rutgers]). This would account for 25% of farmland in the county identified in the Census of Agriculture or 18% of the land assessed as farmland in the county. Considering the distribution of land uses in the county (figure below), this represents a significant investment in preserving the county's landscape and economic and cultural properties.

 

[land-use-in-salem-county]

Land use in Salem County. (Presented by Salem County Agriculture Development Board from data from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Land Use/Land Cover research, link here [link-exits-rutgers].) Click on image to expand.

 

Soil conservation, water quality protection, and wildlife habitat

Agriculture can have several benefits for a watershed aside from the economic and cultural benefits described above. These benefits include:

[salem-county-farmland]

Use of land in farmlands in Salem County. (From USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2007 Census of Agriculture, link here [link-exits-rutgers].) Click on image to expand.

External links


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