Friday, May 16th, 2014
The Morris County Agriculture Development Board on May 15 permanently preserved two farms in Chester Township owned by Ms. Betsy S. Michel.
These purchases by the Morris CADB restrict the lands from non-agricultural uses, thus permanently preserving the 106-acre and the 96-acre farms, which are the 19th and 20th preserved farms in the township, said Katherine Coyle, director of the Morris CADB.
The farms produce hay, vegetables and beef cattle.
The farms are located on St. Bernard’s Road and Mendham Road and are adjacent to two previously preserved farms. The four preserved farms comprise 325 acres of contiguous preserved farmland, Coyle said.
The Michel 1 Farm and Michel 2 Farm purchases were made in conjunction with grants from the State Agriculture Development Committee.
The SADC provided 60 percent of the $3.8 million acquisition price, or $2.3 million to preserve the Michel 1 Farm and the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund provided the remaining $1.5 million.
To preserve the Michel 2 Farm, the SADC provided nearly 56 percent, or $1.2 million of the $2.1 million purchase price, and the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund provided the other 44 percent, or $942,681.97.
In contrast to open space preservation, the landowner retains ownership of, and may even choose to sell, the preserved farmland with a deed restriction ensuring that the land will not undergo non-farm development, Coyle said. Agricultural development of the farm is permitted and the type of farming activity can change in the future.
The two Chester Township farms are the 124th and 125th farms that have been permanently preserved in Morris County. This brings the total area of preserved farmland in the county to 7,709 acres or the equivalent of 12 square miles, which is approximately the area of Long Hill Township, the 15th largest municipality in the County.