New Grant Funding Available to Assist New Jersey Farmers Installing Deer Fencing on Preserved Farms

The SADC is offering a new program to provide cost-sharing grants to farmers to assist with installing deer fencing on permanently preserved farms to protect against crop losses. The SADC will provide 50 percent matching grants to qualifying established farmers for the cost of fencing materials and installation. Applications will be ranked and prioritized for available funding basesd on a number of criteria. The application deadline is March 23, 2017. For more information:

Deer Fencing Program Policy P-53

Application for Cost-Share Funding for Deer Fencing (PDF) (Word)

Press Release (January 26, 2017)


Rural Microenterprise Act Signed Into Law

Governor Christie in January 2016 signed into law A2839 that will allow owners of farms that were preserved prior to January 12, 2006 without an exception area to apply to the SADC for a special permit to operate a rural microenterprise (RME).  The SADC will be developing rules to implement the changes. See below for a copy of the bill and a comparison of the bill’s provisions versus those of the commercial nonagricultural use law, P.L. 2005, c. 314, which the bill amended.

A2839, Rural Microenterprises Act

Commercial Nonag Use Law and Rules vs. A2839 as Enacted

Condemnation of Preserved Farmland and Natural Gas Pipeline Projects

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)

Presentation on Evaluating Farmland Preservation in New Jersey (06/25/15)

"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.

Powerpoint presentation

Solar, Wind and Biomass Law

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.  
 

Special Occasion Events at Wineries on Preserved Farms

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

Cluster Development Bill Signed Into Law

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. (See also New Jersey Future Summary of Key Provisions.) The SADC in September 2016 adopted a model agricultural deed restriction template for municipalities seeking to preserve farmland through contiguous and noncontiguous clustering.

Medical Marijuana on Farms

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.

Presentations

On-Farm Solar Energy Generation (7.93MB), 11/05/10, American Planning Association-NJ

SADC Interpretation of 6/30/09 Sunset of Alternative Appraisal Valuation Provision

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.