SANDY PERRY, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
PHONE: 908-234-1225, EXT. 104
63-acre horse and goat farm preserved in Salem County
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/ 01/04/17
ALLOWAY TWP. - At 76, an age when most people have retired, Henry Ray is still in the saddle after a long career with horses.
Photo by Fran Rapa
"I'm probably the oldest horse trader left in the country," said Ray, who owns a farm in Alloway Township. "I owned lots of horses, I rode lots of them, and I trailered them all over. I rounded up cattle, and I led trail rides."
On Dec. 29, 63 acres of Ray's farm were permanently preserved by New Jersey Conservation Foundation and its partners: Alloway Township, Salem County, the State Agriculture Development Committee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Salem County purchased the development rights on the land, where Ray keeps horses and a large herd of goats. Ray still owns the property, which is now restricted by deed to agricultural uses.
"I'm all about farm preservation, I think it's a great idea," said Ray, who previously preserved another farm in Alloway.
The 63 newly-preserved acres include fields, pastures and woods. Ray keeps about 10 horses on the farm, plus a herd of 80 goats tended by his daughter, Jamie Lindorf.
At one time, Ray owned dozens, even hundreds, of horses. For years, much of his business came from leasing gentle, well-mannered horses to summer camps throughout New Jersey and beyond. "You can't just stick any horse in a camp," he noted. "You have to ride every one of them to make sure no kid is going to get hurt."
Ray no longer leases horses to camps, but he still buys and sells horses, leads trail rides, boards and transports other people's horses, and helps with training. "I'm fortunate that I'm still able to ride a horse," he said. "I go on long trail rides every Sunday. We ride across water and up and down hills - I've got to have a challenge."
Bordered by Route 640, Campedge Road and County Route 611, the Ray farm is valuable for agriculture because 97 percent of its soils are prime or statewide-important, the highest classifications for crop productivity. The farm is near another large preserved farm, as well as the state's Thundergut Pond Wildlife Management Area.
Third Farm Preserved by New Partnership
The Ray farm was the third in 2016 preserved by a new partnership between Alloway Township and New Jersey Conservation Foundation. Earlier in the year, the 25-acre Chard family farm and the 70-acre Doak farm were preserved.
Funding for the Ray farm preservation project came from New Jersey Conservation Foundation's funds received from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Alloway Township's funds from the State Agriculture Development Committee's Municipal Planning Incentive Grant program.
"One of the most effective ways to preserve land is through partnerships, and we're very pleased to team up to preserve the Ray farm," said Greg Romano, New Jersey Conservation Foundation's assistant director and head of its land preservation program.
"The Ray farm is a priority target farm in Alloway Township's Farmland Preservation Plan, and we're delighted to partner with New Jersey Conservation Foundation to ensure that it stays farmland forever," said Alloway Township Committee member Beth Finlaw-Reilly.
"We appreciate the landowner's commitment to farmland preservation and the cooperative efforts of all the partners who worked together to make the preservation of this farm possible," said Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher, who chairs the State Agriculture Development Committee.
"The Natural Resource Conservation Service's farmland preservation program exists to ensure farmland with productive soils will be available for future generations, so we are pleased to have provided funding for the purchase of agricultural easements on the Chard family farm, the Doak farm and, now, the Henry Ray farm," said Carrie Lindig, state conservationist. "NRCS appreciates New Jersey Conservation Foundation's support of Alloway Township's Farmland Preservation partnership,"
New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, New Jersey Conservation has protected 125,000 acres of open space - from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation's programs and preserves, go to www.njconservation.org or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).
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