NEW REPORT: Smarter Land Use Planning is Urgently Needed to Safeguard New Jersey Land That Grows Our Food
WASHINGTON, DC – Smart growth and investment in New Jersey downtowns and main streets must occur now to secure the land that grows our food, according to American Farmland Trust’s new report Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future and the accompanying web mapping tool.
AFT’s Farms Under Threat research has shown that by 2040, as many as 124,952 acres of farmland, approximately 16 percent of New Jersey’s farmland may be lost to urban and low-density conversion across the state. In a worse-case scenario of runaway sprawl, New Jersey could lose as much as 157,204 acres of farmland. This loss will disproportionately impact the region’s most productive, versatile land, threaten the future for small and peri-urban farms and limit opportunities for new and beginning farmers.
Furthermore, by 2040, 1,538 acres of New Jersey farmland will be affected by rising seas due to climate change, based on mid-range sea level rise predictions and elevation.
By making smart growth choices and investing in farmland protection today, New Jerseyans can save 78,700 acres of farmland. That’s the equivalent of saving 1,169 farms, $107 million in farm output, and 4,305 jobs based on county averages.
New Jersey has spent more money than any other state in the nation in permanently preserving farmland, investing over $1,181 million and protecting over 245,000 acres of valuable farmland since 1983.
“Despite state funding and local efforts to support farmland protection policies and programs, farmland continues to be lost at an alarming rate,” said Linda Garrett, AFT New York Regional Director. “We are at a critical time as farms and farmers are being impacted by supply chain disruptions, impacts from global conflicts, climate change and severe weather patterns, exodus from cities exacerbated by the pandemic that further impact land and housing affordability, and exponential increase in solar development. Significantly greater investments are needed to address these challenges.”
For a brief summary of national results: National media release
Register for September 6, 2022, New Jersey State Webinar here
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.