Photo credit: Francis Rapa/New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Conservation Foundation announces preservation of another farm in Alloway Township
ALLOWAY TWP. – At 76-years-old, an age when most people have retired, Henry Ray is still in the saddle after a long career with horses.
“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.”
Sixty-three (63) acres of Mr. Ray’s farm were announced as permanently preserved by New Jersey Conservation Foundation and its partners on Thursday December 29, 2016. The New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s partners include the following: 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. At the present time, the land is home to horses and a large herd of goats. Mr. Henry Ray still owns the property, however, in coordination with the foundation’s program, the land 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.
Bordered by Route 640, Camp Edge 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, and the state’s Thundergust Pond Wildlife Management Area.
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.”
Nevertheless, Henry no longer leases horses to camps but the 76-year-old Alloway resident is quite involved with the equestrian industry. Henry 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.”
The Ray farm was the third in 2016 preserved by a new partnership between Alloway Township and New Jersey Conservation Foundation. The other farms include: the 25-acre Chard family farm & 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.
158 acres of three Alloway farms preserved during 2016 due to new partnership between Township and the nonprofit foundation
“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.
“Natural Resource Conservation Service’s farmland preservation program exists to ensure farmland with productive soils are available for future generations. 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. NRCS appreciates New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s support of Alloway Township’s Farmland Preservation partnership.”
- Carrie Lindig, State Conservationist
More information about the organization:
New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey. Since 1960, New Jersey Conservation has protected 125,000 acres of open space. Visit the following for more: www.njconservation.org or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).