WHEREAS, rising energy costs place greater financial burdens on all New Jersey agricultural sectors, making fossil fuels less attractive for on-farm use; and
WHEREAS, bio-gas facilities have the potential to remove large amounts of food waste and other refuse from the state’s overall waste inventory, when mixed with manure in the production of bio-gas, lessening the state’s reliance on landfills and thereby enhancing the environment and reducing municipal waste disposal costs; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey agricultural operators have embraced becoming part of the biofuels and alternative-energy production market, including but not limited to the growing of grasses and other cellulosic materials to be turned into pellets for use in woodstoves or other heat and power devices; and
WHEREAS, the efforts of agricultural operators to both use and produce alternative energy are consistent with the goals of the updated State Energy Master Plan and with elements of the “Energy as Industry” positions of the Administration; and
WHEREAS, we strongly support all farmers having the ability to utilize solar, wind and other renewable energy to meet the energy needs of their agricultural operations as cost-effectively as possible, whether their farms are preserved or not; and
WHEREAS, local production of biofuels would improve air quality by lessening the amount of fossil fuels being used, as well as providing New Jersey farmers with an enhanced market for their crops and, in some cases, their waste streams; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey’s fiscal position requires innovative ways of creating an inviting business climate for potential biofuels producers and bioenergy generators that do not rely strictly on financial incentives; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey is one of only two states that has not adopted a definition of “pure biodiesel” that includes a reference to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard D6751, a definition determined by the National Biodiesel Board to be critical to further success in expanding the use of viable biodiesel blends in the United States, and which, if adopted, could avail New Jersey of additional federal funding for biodiesel development.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 96th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 8-9, 2011, support the continued development of renewable energy sources in New Jersey and support the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s comprehensive “green energy” strategy as both producers and consumers. This strategy can be found on the Department’s web site at www.state.nj.us/agriculture/news/hottopics/topics060222.html, and will best position New Jersey’s agricultural community to benefit from the pursuit, advocacy and use of renewable energy.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the efforts of the Department with USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Rutgers University, New Jersey Farm Bureau and/or any other agencies, to increase the participation of farmers in the growing of cellulosic crops that can be used in a variety of alternative-energy processes.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support efforts to establish an electricity-generating anaerobic digester to be fueled in part by manure from New Jersey dairy or other livestock operations, as it addresses the dual needs of creating alternative energy while removing manure from the waste inventory.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we strongly urge the Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation that would put into effect a two percent/five percent biodiesel mandate, which would require that all space-heating diesel fuel sold in the state would include two percent biodiesel beginning in 2015, and increasing that amount to five percent by 2020, resulting in 16.8 million gallons of biodiesel being blended with heating oil by 2020.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we strongly support the continued work of the Biofuels/Bioenergy Working Group hosted by the Department of Agriculture and including representation from multiple state and federal agencies, with the goal of reducing red tape and project-review time for businesses interested in producing biofuels of generating bioenergy in New Jersey.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the New Jersey Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation that defines “pure biodiesel” as fueld meeting ASTM D6751, which reads: “Biodiesel is a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D6751.
Fuel and energy costs continue to place financial burdens on all agricultural sectors, diminishing the positive effects of improving prices paid to farmers during good times and further stressing their viability in leaner times. From both the producer and consumer standpoints, New Jersey’s agricultural community would benefit from a concerted effort to pursue and advocate the use of renewable “green energy,” such as ethanol, biodiesel, wind power, solar power, bio-gas and biomass.
Solar energy offers one of the best and cleanest alternative sources of energy for agriculture, industry, and residential dwellings, and there is a demand for more alternative energy produced on preserved or non-preserved agricultural lands, which offers New Jersey farmers a potential source of income. Recent legislative action geared toward enhancing the ability of preserved farms to tap into this energy source has been appreciated by the farm community.
But solar is not the only alternative energy gaining increasing traction among agricultural operators. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are taking a leadership role in New Jersey in working with farmers to produce cellulosic materials such as grasses for use in biofuels and alternative energy generation and has initiated efforts with the Department to expand these efforts among New Jersey farmers.
Biodiesel and ethanol continue to have supporters, including on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Ethanol plants currently under development in New Jersey are projected to produce anywhere from three to 40 million gallons of ethanol.
The Department has worked since June 2006 in a cooperative effort with the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of State, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rutgers University and the Governor’s Office of Economic Growth to create the most conducive environment for biofuels and bioenergy projects to thrive in New Jersey. This “Biofuels/Bioenergy Working Group” has identified and provided support to numerous viable alternative energy proposals from entities interested in locating in New Jersey or already doing business here, and has addressed overarching issues such as environmental permitting hurdles, inventorying biomass available for energy, improper application of environmental standards to biofuels-dispensing operations and classification of biofuels/bioenergy feedstocks in order to determine their value in the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) marketplace.