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WHEREAS, in response to water quality initiatives outlined in the Clean Water Act and the Clean Water Action Plan of 1999, and to proactively address potential non-point source pollution from animal operations, the Department is preparing rules that outline a comprehensive animal waste management program, in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension, New Jersey Farm Bureau, the State Board of Agriculture and representatives from the various sectors of the livestock industry; and

WHEREAS, the program will provide for the proper management of animal waste, including criteria and standards for the composting, handling, storage, processing, utilization and disposal of animal wastes; and

WHEREAS, these rules apply to farms that generate, handle or receive animal waste and establish general requirements for all livestock farms to follow; and the rules also require the development and implementation of self-certified plans based upon thresholds of animal units and animal density; and

WHEREAS, the rules have been substantially revised since their initial release in the fall of 2004 and will be released for a second round of informal review in early 2006; and the Department is anticipating that a formal rule proposal process will take place in the spring of 2006; and

WHEREAS, concurrent with the rule-making process, the Department has contracted with Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension to develop a compact disc version of the self-certified plan template, the updated “On-farm Strategies to Protect Water Quality” best management practices manual and other tools to assist farmers with plan development; the template will also be available in hard copy as contained in the best management practices manual; and

WHEREAS, once the rules are adopted, plan development workshops will be held on the county level to assist livestock farmers with the development of their plans.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates of the 91st State Agricultural Convention assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey on February 8, 2006 support the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s cooperative efforts in developing a comprehensive animal waste management program for livestock farms.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Department will continue to recognize animal waste as a resource and continue to explore alternative uses of animal waste.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Department will continue to monitor the progress of the proposed animal waste composting facility in Sussex County and utilize this NJDEP Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D) project as a model for other facilities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Department will explore the possibility of creating an Ag Composting program within the Department of Agriculture, separate and apart from the NJDEP Solid Waste Management Program, that would establish agricultural composting facilities and monitor program compliance.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department of Agriculture will continue to identify ways to assist livestock farmers with self-certified plan development and implementation to assure that the animal waste management program is effective, practical, affordable and feasible.