skip to main content skip to main navigation
WHEREAS, the services provided by regulated public utilities such as electricity, natural gas, communications, water and sewer are necessary for all industries, including agriculture; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) has promulgated Regulations governing the provisions of such utility services in all areas of the State, and those Regulations, at N.J.A.C. 14:3-8, seek to apply “Smart Growth” principles to extensions of regulated utility services; and

WHEREAS, the aforementioned Regulations, and therefore the Tariffs which the BPU approves for each regulated utility, require the person or entity requesting an extension of utility service to pay the full cost of such extension in all areas of the State except those areas designated for growth by the New Jersey State Planning Commission including Planning Area 1 (Urban), Planning Area 2 (Suburban), Pinelands Regional Growth Areas, or areas designated as “Centers” or otherwise identified for growth; and

, most of the State’s agriculture takes place in “non-growth areas” such as Planning Area 3 (Suburban Fringe), Planning Area 4 (Rural), PA4B (Rural/Environmentally Sensitive), PA5 (Environmentally Sensitive), the Agriculture Production and Special Agriculture Production Areas of the Pinelands, and the Preservation Area of the Highlands; and

WHEREAS, there is a narrow exception in the BPU’s Regulations at N.J.A.C. 14:3-8.8 which permits utilities to continue to spread the cost for extensions of service in “non-growth areas” among all of its ratepayers when the “…sole purpose is serving an agricultural building or structure whose sole use is the production, storage, packing or processing of agricultural or horticultural products, provided that a majority of these products were produced on a New Jersey commercial farm, as defined in N.J.S.A. 4:1C-3…”; and

, the aforementioned exception is presently being interpreted by utilities and the BPU as not being applicable to housing for farm families and farm labor, and farm businesses are being required to pay the full cost for extensions of service for housing on-farm structures and agricultural uses; and

WHEREAS, in addition the rule as currently written requires farmers to pay for extension of service to agricultural support structures, such as machinery repair shops and storage buildings, farm markets, and irrigation wells; and

, most farms in New Jersey are family owned and operated, many need to hire additional labor, most farmers and farm laborers do not live in designated growth areas, and it is impractical and inconsistent with Smart Growth principles to expect farmers and farm laborers to live far from where they work; and

WHEREAS, the present interpretation of the BPU’s regulations concerning payment of costs for extensions of utilities places a significant financial burden on farm businesses which seek to build housing for farm labor and family members; and

WHEREAS, these additional costs will discourage investment by farmers in agricultural infrastructure, the construction of safe, sanitary housing for farmers and farm workers, discourage construction of decent housing for future generations of farmers and result in a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 91st State Agriculture Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey on February 8, 2006, support the efforts of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture in working with the BPU to amend its regulations to appropriately address the needs of the agricultural industry and farm families.

, that we request that until such time as amended regulations are adopted, that the BPU interpret the existing exemption language for agriculture expansively, not narrowly, to include housing for farm labor and farm families, and other agricultural infrastructure.