10 Important Issues to Address Before Preserving Your Farm In New Jersey

NJ Landowner Blogs | 2023

If you are a farmland owner in New Jersey looking to preserve your farm, there are many important issues to address before beginning the process. Here are some issues to consider:

  1. Exception areas: Exception areas are areas of a farm that will not be encumbered by the deed of easement. It is important to identify and map out any exception areas on your farm before beginning the preservation process, as these areas will be surveyed and permanently delineated and cannot be altered or relocated after preservation.

  2. Non-agricultural uses: If your farm includes any non-agricultural businesses or leases, such as construction equipment storage, it is important to identify and evaluate these uses before beginning the preservation process. These uses may be allowed to continue under a preservation agreement, but they may also be subject to restrictions.

  3. Impervious coverage: Impervious coverage refers to the area of hard surfaces, such as pavement or buildings, on a farm. It is important to evaluate the impervious coverage on your farm before beginning the preservation process, as excessive impervious coverage can negatively impact soil health and water quality and may exceed the SADC’s proposed Soil Disturbance rules.

  4. Housing Opportunities: Before preserving your farm, it is important to assess both the existing and future residential uses and needs for the property.  There are restrictions on who can live in “agricultural labor” housing, or a Residual Dwelling Site Opportunity (RDSO). But a residence on the exception area likely has no restrictions on who can reside in the home. Having these considerations vetted by Pinto Consulting can avoid post-preservation housing issues.

  5. Land use and zoning: It is important to understand the current land use and zoning of your farm and how these impact the appraisal process and the highest and best use of your farm. Farmland preservation appraisals cannot consider any “extraordinary assumptions.”

  6. Financial considerations: Preserving your farm involves a one-time payment that will represent a large percentage of your overall land value. What will you do with this funding? Is it subject to Capital Gains? Would you consider a like-kind exchange to limit capital gains exposure? It is important to carefully evaluate the financial implications of preserving your farm before making a decision.

  7. Agricultural viability: Before preserving your farm, it is important to consider the long-term agricultural viability of the property. This may include evaluating the potential for crop production, livestock management, or other agricultural activities.

  8. Market trends: It is also important to consider market trends and the potential demand for your farm’s products in the future. This can help to ensure that the farm is financially viable in the long term. Pinto Consulting has another blog focused on this for New Jersey farms.

  9. Future plans: Consider your future plans for the farm, including any potential successors or heirs who may be involved in the operation of the farm. This can help to ensure that the farm is preserved in a way that meets the needs and goals of all stakeholders. For example, do you have more than one child that might want to have their own farm business in the future?

  10. Legal considerations: Preserving your farm involves complex legal issues, such as the creation of a development easement or the transfer of ownership or establishing a Trust. It is important to seek the advice of a qualified attorney to ensure that these issues are properly addressed.

By addressing these and other important issues before preserving your farm in New Jersey, you can ensure that the process goes smoothly and that your farm is viable for future generations. Pinto Consulting helps its clients think long-term so that today’s preservation project benefits the family farm for generations to follow.

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