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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 New Jersey Department of Agriculture (the Department) is preparing rules that outline a comprehensive animal waste management program, in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, 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 composting, handling, storage, processing, utilization and disposal of animal wastes; and

WHEREAS, these rules will apply to farms that generate, handle or receive animal waste and establish general requirements for all livestock farms to follow; and

WHEREAS, the rules also require the development and implementation of self-certified plans, high-density plans or Comprehensive Nutrient Management 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 were released for a second round of informal review in 2006, and the Department is anticipating that a formal rule proposal process will take place in early 2007; and

WHEREAS, concurrent with the rule-making process, the Department has contracted with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension to develop a compact disc version of the self-certified and high-density 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 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.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 92nd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 14, 2007, 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 including bio-gas production, which allows for the productive reuse of manure, reduces hauling costs and benefits the environment.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Department will continue to work in conjunction with our conservation partners to implement demonstration projects, such as the one involving the installation of best management practices at the Equine Science Center, to provide hands-on training and research facilities to educate livestock owners on the design implementation of cost-effective environmental management practices to minimize water quality impacts and provide an opportunity for the evaluation of the effectiveness of such practices.

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

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