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Rutgers Collaborates on National Farmland Preservation Conference

Posted: June 17, 2014

A two-day national conference called "Saving America’s Farms and Farmland: Celebrating 40 Years of Farmland Preservation" was held on May 12-13 in Hershey, PA. The event, attended by 125 representatives from 18 states ranging from Washington to Ohio to Maine, was a collaboration among Brian Schilling, extension specialist at Rutgers University, Deborah Bowers, Carroll County, MD preservation specialist and publisher of the nationally recognized Farmland Preservation Report, and the Farmland Preservation Roundtable Conference Steering Committee.
Credit: USDA

Credit: USDA

The oft seen bumper sticker “No Farmers, No Food,” conveys a clear message about the importance of farmers. But what about the farmland they – and we – depend on? Preserving farmland everywhere provides abundant local food supplies and many public benefits: ecological services, wildlife habitat, land and soil conservation and open space.

Nationwide, 28 states have programs in place, but not all are actively purchasing and preserving land, and other states without programs are only now realizing the need for preservation. And although 2.2 million acres of farmland have been preserved, there are still many challenges for new and continued preservation efforts, from lack of funding to shifting priorities.

That’s why, for the first time in seven years, a two-day national conference was held on May 12-13 in Hershey, PA. Saving America’s Farms and Farmland: Celebrating 40 Years of Farmland Preservation gave state, county, local, non-profit and academic farmland preservation practitioners the chance to share information, experiences and successes; to learn from well-established and well-subscribed programs; and an opportunity to network with like-minded professionals.

The remainder of this article by Rutgers Office of Communications contains more information about the event and about New Jersey's efforts to preserve its farmland.