think of farms as always being there. Food will always be
grown. Our countryside will be full of cows and crops just
like it always has been. The fact is that this may not be
Farmers are faced with the growing costs to run
their farms. These costs include taxes, insurance, and regular
farm costs. When we visited a farm, the farmer said that this
was one of his main concerns.... and not the weather conditions like
Farmers are being offered big money to sell their farms.
Companies that are building lots of houses and condominiums buy up
farm land so that city people can move into the country. They
break up the farm land into smaller pieces of land. In
the picture on the right, you will see an example of how housing
developments are gradually taking over valuable farm land.
With more people traveling and moving into the country, more roads
need to be built. Roads take up land, too. Many times
the land is farmland. So, the farmer is offered lots of money
to sell their land. The high taxes and farm costs make this
look good to farmers.
Another big threat is roads that go around
cities. These are called loops or bypasses.
These use up farm land, parks, and green spaces edging our
cities. This has had a
terrible track record over the past few years, although many mayors
and members of Congress now want to build more. As a nation,
we should stop giant highways and promote new transportation that
helps the economy and the environment.
We interviewed former Congressman and former head of
the New Jersey Turnpike Authority Neil Gallagher who said, "New
Jersey used to make awful smells that would spread across the area
from a major pig farm in Secaucus.
A plan then was made by Governor Al Driscoll to run a highway
through New York State to the crossing of the Delaware River to take
out the traffic on Highway Number 1.
In order to build these roadways, all the roads had to
connect and pass through Secaucus which had to be the hub of the
highway. In order
to do this, the government had to buy all the pig farms in
Mr. Gallagher remembers that several laws were passed:
||A new organization
was formed called the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
||Creation of an
organization that would buy the farms at a fair price.
turnpike to sell bonds to raise money to buy the land and
build the road. The
bonds would be paid for by the tolls that were collected on
the turnpike. [Two thirds of the money came from
result of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority closing down the farms
was that we lost the farm land, and the new use of that land
resulted in the greatest economic boom that the state of New Jersey
had ever seen. The road
itself created all new jobs throughout the state and in Secaucus
Let’s use the New Jersey Meadowlands sports
complex as an example. This
land became some of the most valuable land in the metropolitan area
when the Meadowlands [including Giant Stadium, the race track, and
Continental Arena] was built where pig farms used to be.
Mr. Gallagher feels that, “Sometimes the
price of progress is finding a better use of land that benefits more
people at the expense of a more rural and quiet way of life.
The threat to farming had to be raised for the people of the
state. This is one
example, but a balance does have to be set from nature and a growing
Many people would agree with Mr. Gallagher’s
statements and many others would not.
No matter where you stand on the loss of valuable farmland to
development, you need to always be concerned about the future of our
you know that . . .
fourth of the barns in the 1997 Field Guide to New England Barns
and farm buildings are now gone?