New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho Legislation Enhancing Economic Viability of Family Farms Advanced

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho to enhance the economic viability of family farms operating on certain parcels of preserved farmland was passed by the Senate today.

Sen. Steven Oroho’s legislation would allow owners of preserved farmland to conduct limited rural microenterprise activities on a small portion of the land. (Garden State Preservation Trust)

The legislation, S-2620, would allow farmers who did not apply for easements at the time they entered their land into the state’s farmland preservation program and are therefore unable to conduct any non-farming business on the property to apply to the state for a permit to conduct limited rural microenterprise activities on a small portion of the land, such as wood working or farm equipment repair services.

“Farming is a tough, uncertain industry and with no ability to conduct any other business activities on their land some of these farmers in the state’s preservation program are relegated to hoping each year’s crop is a profitable one.” said Oroho, (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “Allowing these limited business activities will give farmers who sold their entire farms into the state’s preservation program a means to earn additional income to support their families and farming operation in a way that continues to protect the integrity of the land.”

Under S-2620, which expands on existing, limited business permitting options, farmers who did not apply for easements at the time they entered their land into the state’s farmland preservation program are able to apply to conduct two classes of rural microenterprise activities;

  • Customary rural activities, which rely on the equipment and aptitude historically possessed by the agricultural community, such as snow plowing, bed and breakfasts, bakeries, woodworking, and craft-based businesses;
  • Agriculture support services such as veterinary practices, seed suppliers, and tractor or equipment repair shops;

S-2620 would also allow, within limits, the alternation of existing residential or agricultural structures, such as historic barns, so that they may be preserved.

“We all appreciate the beauty and bounty of New Jersey’s farmland but too often fail to consider the difficulties of the industry and the sacrifices that farmers made in selling the development rights of their land to the state,” said Oroho. “This is a balanced approach to securing both the economic viability and continued preservation of these farmlands.”

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