By David Madden

UPPER PITTSGROVE, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey celebrated a milestone today at a Salem County farm: 200,000 acres of farmland preserved statewide.

But advocates admit there’s a lot more work to do.

It’s taken 27 years to get to this point, according to officials, but the goal is to set aside 550,000 acres for farms in the Garden State.

Meanwhile, the $400 million for the latest preservation program is quickly running out.

New Jersey agriculture secretary Doug Fisher insists it’s one of the things at the top of Gov. Chris Christie’s “to do” list.

“We’re okay for this year, we’re okay for next year,” he said today, “but I don’t have it ready as secretary to tell you what that announcement will be in the future.”

State senate president Steve Sweeney chimed in that farmland preservation has never been a partisan issue in the Garden State, and there has always been widespread voter support for funding these programs.  The challenge, he said, is to find a permanent funding source.

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