Friday, January 28th, 2011

The Morris County Agriculture Development Board has permanently preserved the Mini-Mac Farm in Washington Township.

The Jan. 20 purchase restricts the land from non-agricultural uses, thus permanently preserving the 18-acre farm on Pleasant Grove Road, which is in close proximity to five other preserved farms.

Mini-Mac Farm, owned and operated by the McLaughlin family since 2005, practices pesticide and antibiotic-free, biodynamic farming with an emphasis on the integration of crops and livestock, and the recycling of nutrients.

It offers a wide variety of naturally-raised products that include beef, pork, fresh eggs, vegetables, flowers and herbs, as well as locally-produced honey, chicken and wild game. Mini-Mac’s products are sold both on-site and at a number of area farmer’s markets. Small group farm tours can be arranged by appointment.

The farm purchase was made in conjunction with a grant from the State Agriculture Development Committee, which provided 29 percent of the $348,899 acquisition price, with 71 percent funded by the county’s Preservation Trust Fund.

In contrast to open space preservation, the landowner retains ownership of, and may even choose to sell, the preserved land with a deed restriction ensuring that the land will not undergo non-farm development. Agricultural development of the farm is permitted and the type of farming activity can change in the future.

Mini-Mac Farm is the 114th farm to be permanently preserved in Morris County, bringing the total area for preserved farmland in the county to 7,173 acres or the equivalent of 11.2 square miles.