(a) The following words and terms, as used in this section, shall have the following meanings.
"Agronomic rate" means the whole food processing by-product application rate on a dry weight basis designed:"Food processing by-product" means food processing vegetative wastes and/or food processing residuals generated from food processing and packaging operations or similar industries that process food products.
i. To provide the amount of nitrogen or other nutrients needed by the food crop, feed crop, fiber crop, cover crop, or vegetation grown on the land;
ii. To minimize the amount of nitrogen or other nutrients from residual and all other fertilizer sources that passes below the root zone of the crop or vegetation grown on the land; and
iii. To provide the amount of calcium or magnesium oxides capable of neutralizing soil acidity.
"Food processing residuals" means residuals resulting from the physical, chemical, and/or biological treatment of wastewater generated in food processing and packaging operations or similar industries that process food products, whose application to lands would benefit crop growth and soil productivity. Food processing residuals do not include process waste waters.
"Food processing vegetative waste" means material generated in trimming, reject sorting, cleaning, pressing, cooking, and filtering operations from the processing of fruits and vegetables and the like in food processing and packaging operations or similar industries that process food products. Vegetative wastes include, but are not limited to, tomato skins and seeds, pepper cores, potato peels, cabbage, onion skins, celery pieces, cranberry hulls, cranberry tailings, rice hulls, carrot stems, and coffee grounds.
(b) No commercial farm operator seeking protection of the Right to Farm Act shall apply food processing by-product to a commercial farm except in accordance with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:14A and this section.
(c) Only food processing by-product meeting the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:14A-20.7(h)1 as determined by the Department of Environmental Protection shall be land-applied to commercial farms.
(d) Food processing by-product shall not be applied to the land if it is likely to adversely affect a threatened or endangered species listed under section 4 of the Federal Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533, or is designated critical habitat.
(e) Food processing by-product shall not be applied to agricultural land that is 10 meters or less from the waters of the State, as defined in N.J.A.C. 7:14A-1.2, unless otherwise specified by the Department of Environmental Protection.
(f) Food processing by-product shall be applied to agricultural land at an application rate that is equal to or less than the agronomic rate for the food processing by-product.
(g) Runoff and erosion controls are essential to sound management. Overland flow increases the potential for contamination of surface waters. Erosion decreases soil productivity and increases sediment loads in streams. Soil conservation practices are designed to promote infiltration and slow down the velocity of water that flows over the soil surface. Therefore, it is recommended that food processing by-product be land applied to commercial farms in conjunction with and conformance to a farm conservation plan prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and approved by the Soil Conservation District.
(h) It is recommended that each farm conservation plan address the commercial farm's site characteristics in order to assess the farm's suitability for land application of food processing by-product including, but not limited to, permeability of the most restrictive layer between zero and 60 inches, infiltration rate, soil drainage class, runoff class, slope, depth to seasonal high water table, frequency of flooding, depth to bedrock and ability to provide adequate buffer zones surrounding land application areas.
(i) Evaluating a commercial farm for beneficial use of food processing by-products requires working within the commercial farmer's existing management system. Food processing by-products utilization should not alter decisions on the crops to grow, the crop rotations to use, and whether to drain, irrigate, or lime the soil. The crop management system dictates when a field is accessible, the frequency of food processing by-product application, the expected amount of nutrients the food processing by-products must deliver, and the application methods.
1. 1. Food processing by-product may be applied to row, grain, pasture and horticulture crops. The crops most likely to be used in a food processing by-products utilization program are pasture and forage, grain and grass seed, and row crops. Row crops include food crops (crops grown for direct human consumption or animal feeds) and non-food crops such as Christmas trees and ornamentals.
2. All food processing by-product samples collected for analysis should be representative of the food processing by-product residual to be land applied.
3. All plant-available nutrients supplied via food processing by-products and other carriers (that is, manure or fertilizers) should be counted toward satisfying the nutrient requirement of a crop and should not exceed said nutrient requirement.
4. Applications of available nutrients to crops that will not be harvested (for example, green manure crops) shall be limited to that rate recommended as the "establishment" rate for that crop, and shall be assumed to be available for the next crop grown.
5. All crop management practices shall aim at attaining the expected yield goal.
6. All crops shall be planted during the season of the year which is most appropriate for the growth of that crop, such that crop growth and maturation, with consequent nutrient uptake and utilization, is maximized.
7. A crop should be sown on fallow fields within 30 days of the initiation of food processing by-product land application activities on said fields, provided field conditions permit.
8. The food processing by-product application rate for each field should be uniform over all sections of that field.
9. Where appropriate, applications of nutrients via food processing by-product may be modified at the discretion of the Department of Environmental Protection through evaluation of monitoring reports, compliance inspection reports or other relevant information including, but not limited to, data concerning food processing by-product quality, soil and crop yield, expert research in the field, and recommendations by County Agricultural Extension Agents or staff of the USDA-NRCS, Soil Conservation District or State Agriculture Development Committee.
(j) Subsurface injection and/or surface application are generally acceptable methods of land applying food processing by-product. Other methods of application, as reviewed and approved in writing by the Department of environmental Protection, may be more appropriate for certain land applications of food processing by-product. The characteristics of a specific food processing by-product and of the specific commercial farm land application site (for example, slope and infiltration rate) should be evaluated to determine the most appropriate application method. The Department of Environmental Protection, where necessary, may limit the availability of a specific method of application where site specific factors warrant.
(k) Sometimes runoff is inevitable, even from pastures and well-protected fields. This is especially true during high-intensity storms and when the soil is frozen. Regardless of other conservation practices that might be in place, food processing by-products shall not be put on the soil at these times. In fact, N.J.A.C. 7:14A-20.7(b)2ii prohibits the application of food processing by-product to flooded, frozen or snow-covered land if the food processing by-product could enter surface waters or wetlands. Generally, land is considered flooded when the soil at the surface of the land is saturated with water, regardless of whether water is visible on the ground. Such flooding conditions may be produced by heavy precipitation that occurs locally or at some distance from the commercial farm, the rise of any nearby surface waters, the rise of the groundwater table, the melting of snow and ice, or irrigation.