Recently, there has been significant interest among certain private utility companies, predominantly those related to developing natural gas pipelines and electrical transmission systems, to cross over preserved farmland for the purposes of upgrading or expanding utility system capacity. The SADC has developed the following publications to help preserved farmland owners understand the SADC's procedures for condemnation of preserved farmland and to address frequently asked questions regarding natural gas pipeline projects on preserved farms.
Landowner Guide to SADC Procedures for the Condemnation of Preserved Farmland (July 2015)
Natural Gas Pipeline Projects on NJ Preserved Farmland: Frequently Asked Questions (December 2015)
"Evaluating Farmland Preservation in New Jersey," an overview of recent New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) research, was presented to the SADC at its June 25, 2015 meeting.
P.L. 2014, ch. 16, which was signed into law on July 2, 2014, allows wineries on preserved farms to conduct special occasion events under certain conditions as part of a 44-month pilot program.
SADC Pilot Program Summary and P.L. 2014, ch. 16
The Rural Microenterprises bill (A4034) would provide a limited measure of relief to landowners who wish to conduct small-scale nonagricultural uses on preserved farms whose owners may have been aware of, or were denied, the opportunity to take exception areas when they preserved their farms.
Governor Christie in August 2013 signed into law P.L. 2013, C. 106, which amends the Municipal Land Use Law to provide municipalities with enhanced provisions for the use of contiguous and non-contiguous clustering and lot-size averaging for open space, farmland and historic preservation.
The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) has concluded accepting bids for two-year agricultural leases (crops only) on the following farms:
Sassi Farm -- 40 acres
Pennsville-Auburn Road (CR 551)
Carneys Point Township, Salem County
Case Farm -- 70 acres
Old York Road (Route 179)
West Amwell Township, Hunterdon County
The leases will run through December 31, 2014. Bids were accepted by the SADC until 4:45 p.m. on March 11, 2013.
P.L. 2009, c. 213, which affects the ability of farmers and other landowners to install solar, wind or biomass energy generation systems on farms, was signed into law in January 2010. The law identifies allowable limits and criteria for these activities on preserved farms, and for qualifying for farmland assessment and right-to-farm protection on both preserved and non-preserved farms.
Application to install energy generation facilities, structures or equipment on a preserved farm. (This application is only for projects that meet the following criteria: They will be installed on existing buildings or other existing structures, are designed to meet the energy needs of the farm and will not exceed 2 megawatts of power.)
Right to Farm Protection: The SADC has adopted an agricultural management practice (AMP) that sets forth the standards commercial farms must meet to be eligible for right-to-farm protection for solar energy generation facilities.
The State Agriculture Development Committee at its December 8, 2011 meeting reviewed a working draft of an On-Farm Direct Marketing Agriculture Management Practice (AMP) and recommended circulating the draft to solicit broad feedback from the agricultural community and public.
The draft AMP clarifies terms in the Right to Farm Act and establishes performance-based standards that commercial farms would have to meet to be eligible for right-to-farm protection for retail farm markets and for various agriculture-related educational and farm-based recreational activities and events.
Comments should be submitted by April 15th to the SADC, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to inquiries, the SADC on December 8, 2011 issued a Question and Answer Document to provide clarification regarding medical marijuana as it relates to preserved farms and eligibility for protection under the Right to Farm Act.
Appropriation bills signed by the Governor on August 17, 2011, will provide $90.6 million for farmland preservation acquisition projects. The allocation of funds results in the following program breakdown:
State Acquisition Program -- $19,738,760 for the SADC to directly purchase development rights to preserve farmland or purchase farmland outright for preservation.
County Planning Incentive Grant (PIG) Program -- $39 million in grants to 16 participating counties to preserve farmland. The bills provide a $1.5 million dollar "base grant" to each county. The bills also establish a $15 million competitive grant fund. Counties that spend down their base grants can compete for additional funds in the competitive grant fund until that fund is exhausted. Any county can qualify for up to $3 million in competitive grants, for a potential total maximum combined grant of $4.5 million. (List of participating counties, with municipalities where counties have targeted farmland for preservation.)
Municipal PIG Program -- $23 million in grants to participating municipalities to preserve farmland. The bills provide $750,000 to each new PIG applicant (6 towns) and $500,000 to each town that qualified for funding under the FY09 round (37 towns). (List of participating municipalities)
Nonprofit Program -- $8.831 million in grants to 8 nonprofit organizations to preserve farmland (the largest allocation to the Nonprofit Program in SADC history). (List of participating nonprofits)
The N.J. Department of Transportation proposed rules in the March 7, 2011 New Jersey Register that would expand opportunities for Tourist-Oriented Destination Signage for agritourism operations.
Copy of the proposed rules
On-Farm Solar Energy Generation (7.93MB), 11/05/10, American Planning Association-NJ
SADC Status Report to the N.J. Farm Bureau Convention (7.99MB), 11/15/10
The SADC on July 22, 2010, established program funding allocations for FY2011, which call for $73 million to be used from November 2009 bond funds, $9.2 million from canceled projects and $6.3 million from Fee Simple revenues. Total FY2011 funding that will be requested is $88.5 million.
Memo to CADBs, Municipal PIG Coordinators, Nonprofits (August 26, 2010)
Memo to SADC Members (July 22, 2010)
FY2011 Proposed Program Funding Allocation (spreadsheet)
FY2011 County PIG Funding Allocation (spreadsheet as of July 22, 2010)
FY2011 Municipal PIG Funding Allocation (spreadsheet as of July 22, 2010)
Governor Corzine on August 6, 2009, signed into law S2712-2715 that provide $91 million for farmland preservation acquisition projects.
Grants to Counties
County Planning Incentive Grants
Traditional County Easement Purchase
Municipal Planning Incentive Grants
The SADC's agricultural mediation program is intended to help farmers and others resolve agricultural disputes quickly, amicably and in a cost-effective manner. Read an update on the program's activities and a discussion of potential opportunities for expansion. Suggestions for future program activities are welcome and should be sent to David Kimmel at email@example.com.
Under the Garden State Preservation Trust Act (GSPT), as amended, when state, local or non-profit agencies “seek to acquire” land for preservation, they must conduct appraisals that utilize the zoning and environmental regulations that are in place currently, as well as those that were in place as of January 1, 2004. This appraisal approach yields two different values, the higher of which must be used as the basis for negotiating with the landowner.
This dual-appraisal requirement will sunset on June 30, 2009. The GSPT Act states:“Commencing on the date of enactment…and through June 30, 2009, when the committee, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization seeks to acquire a development easement on farmland or fee simple title to farmland…using constitutionally dedicated moneys…it shall conduct or cause to be conducted an appraisal or appraisals of value…. "[NJSA 13:8C-38j.(1)].
Therefore, the entity must “seek to acquire” the farm for preservation purposes by June 30, 2009 in order to take advantage of the dual-appraisal provision. As such, the SADC has taken action to clarify for our funding partners what the term “seeks to acquire” means.
The attached SADC Interpretation of the Alternate Appraisal Provision Within the Garden State Preservation Trust (GSPT) Act -- which sets forth the conditions that must be met for an application to qualify for the special appraisal provision -- was approved by the SADC at a special meeting on April 2, 2009. In short, for applications that need SADC approval prior to initiating appraisals -- including those under the County and Municipal Planning Incentive Grant Programs and the 2005, 2006 and 2007 rounds of the Nonprofit Program -- those applications must be submitted to the SADC by no later than June 30, 2009. Once the SADC issues approval of the application, appraisals with a valuation date of no later than June 30, 2009, must be submitted to the SADC within 180 days.
In cases where SADC approval is not needed before initiating appraisals -- such as for pre-approved applications under the 2008 or 2009 rounds of the Nonprofit Program or for applications where "green light" approval has already been granted -- all appraisals must be submitted to the SADC by December 31, 2009, with a valuation date of no later than June 30, 2009.
These deadlines also apply to the State Acquisition Program. Acquisitions under all programs must use Garden State Preservation Trust funds or 2007 bond act funds.
We recognize our funding partners' great interest in the implications of the June 30, 2009 sunset provision, so this interpretation is being sent electronically and posted on the agency website. However, please be advised that, like with any SADC action, the adoption of this interpretation is subject to a 15-day Governor's office review period for the minutes.
If you have any questions regarding this interpretation, please contact Brian Smith. If you have questions regarding a specific application, contact the appropriate program staff person.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is planning to change its agricultural leasing program for properties within wildlife management areas owned and managed by its Division of Fish and Wildlife. Key changes will include the issuance of longer-term leases rather than year-to-year special use permits. Lease compensation to the State will be based on soil rental rates established by the USDA's Farm Service, and all leases will be subject to a bidding process open to all interested farmers. The DEP intends to implement this new program for the 2010 growing season.
The DEP has scheduled the following three public meetings with farmers to answer questions and provide detailed program requirements. For more information, contact the DEP's Office of Leases at (609) 633-7575.
January 22, 2009, 7 p.m.
Assunpink Wildlife Management Area
One Eldridge Road, Robbinsville
February 5, 2009, 7 p.m.
Pequest Education Center
605 Pequest Road, Oxford
February 10, 2009, 2 p.m.
2009 State Agricultural Convention
Crowne Plaza Hotel
2349 West Marlton Pike
Is farmland availability or affordability a problem in New Jersey? How great an issue is it? What might be some ways to improve opportunities for New Jersey farmers?
The SADC has visited with county boards and farmers to solicit input and ideas. You can also read background information on the issues here and share your thoughts.