In an effort to keep farming activity alive on the Bulk Farm, township officials are going to authorize public bidding for agricultural lease for the site.

An ordinance, authorizing the public bidding, is on the Township Committee’s agenda for Wednesday, May 11.

Plainsboro officials closed on a deal for the 84-acre Bulk Farm on Cranbury Neck Road at the end of 2008.

In February, 2008, the Township Committee approved an agreement with the Bulk Family Limited Partnership, which was needed in order for the township to jointly purchase the property with the county for a price tag of $3 million.

Mayor Peter Cantu had pointed to the farm’s acquisition as one of the goals for 2008. The parcel was one of the last remaining large tracts of open space within township borders.

The county’s dedication of $2.695 million toward the property came coming from an open space referendum. The remaining $305,000 came from the township’s own open space fund.

At the time, Cantu explained that the property would be put up for lease for farming uses.

Cantu said this month that the intention was to keep the parcel in farm production. "It’s a 10-year lease," he said. "We’re advertising for bids that would also have a 10-year renewal option."

"It is essentially continuing our farmland preservation program on a piece of property that was acquired largely with county dollars," added Cantu. "We had to work with the county since it’s their money. They agreed to allow us to put it out for farm lease."

Cantu said a number of parties have expressed interest in the lease. "We’re looking for an operator who will maintain farming during the 10-year lease period."

According to Township Administrator Robert Sheehan, the public bidding process will most likely take place in June.