The nearly 64-acre Merrick Road active farm was recently preserved thanks to Hamilton Township and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (Photograph courtesy of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation).

Hamilton Township officials teamed up with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation to help save one of the community’s few remaining active farms.

For years, a nearly 64-acre Merrick Road property was owned by Anna Lord and was actively farmed by Hamilton resident Scott Ellis. However, after Lord passed away, her estate looked to sell the farm, which was being targeted for residential development.

When the New Jersey Conservation Foundation — which since 1960 has helped save over 125,000 acres of land across the state — noticed that the property was up for sale, the nonprofit organization approached Hamilton officials about preserving the farm.

Thanks to the joint effort, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation was able to negotiate a purchase price of $1,052,513; and Hamilton Township was able to use its open space trust to fund the acquisition. To help subsidize the cost of the open space purchase, Hamilton secured a $500,000 grant the Mercer County Open Space fund and is also seeking New Jersey Green Acres program funding that could reimburse the remaining costs.

“Preservation efforts like this supplement our other efforts to protect our local environment, promote sustainability and to keep our community clean and green,” Mayor Kelly Yaede said.

“New Jersey Conservation Foundation is pleased to help preserve this former family farm,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “We applaud the township for its commitment to preserving the rural character of the southeast corner of the township, and we look forward to partnering with Hamilton Township on other projects.”