Posted Wednesday, May 9th, 2018
The Morris County Agriculture Development Board this week permanently enrolled the 32-acre Olsen Farm, a sweet corn farm in Chester Township, into the county’s farmland preservation program.
The Morris County CADB purchased a development easement on the property for a total of $821,686, or $25,500 per acre, from the owners, Kenneth Olsen and Dorothy Ludwig.
The State Agriculture Development Committee provided 59 percent of the funding, or $482,010, while the other 41 percent or $339,676, came from the voter-approved Morris County Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.
The agreement restricts the land from non-agricultural uses, but Kenneth Olsen and Dorothy Ludwig retain ownership.
Olsen Farm, located on Old Chester Gladstone Road, is located within a half-mile of three preserved farm properties in Chester Township, and directly borders the preserved Degnan and Michel 1 farms.
Chester Township has the second-most preserved farms in Morris County, only behind Washington Township, according to Morris County Agriculture Development Board Director Katherine Coyle.
“This decades-long preservation program has been extremely effective in preserving Morris County’s agricultural roots, and creating a permanent and viable agricultural business district, especially in western Morris County,’’ said Freeholder Christine Myers, the county governing board’s liaison on preservation matters.
In contrast to open space preservation, the agricultural landowner retains ownership of, and may even choose to sell, the preserved farmland. However, the land retains a deed restriction ensuring that it cannot undergo non-farm development.
Preservation of Olsen Farm brings the total area of preserved farmland in the county to 8,014 acres or the equivalent of 12.5 square miles, which is approximately the area of Long Hill, which is the 15th largest municipality in Morris County.
Olsen Farm is the second preservation closing in Morris County in 2018. Another four farms, totaling 199 acres, are pending enrollment in the county program. They are located in Chester Township, Harding, Mount Olive, and Washington Township.
For detailed information on the county’s agricultural preservation program, visit: https://morriscountynj.gov/planning/divisions/prestrust/farmland/