New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho, Space & Phoebus Bills Enhancing Farming Operations in NJ Signed into Law

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Legislation sponsored by District 24 legislators Senator Steven Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus to enhance economic viability of certain farming operations was signed into law by Governor Christie.

Legislation sponsored by Oroho, Space and Phoebus to enhance economic viability of certain farming operations was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie. (Wikimedia Commons)

The legislation, S-2620/A-2839, 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. The legislation would also allow, within limits, the alternation of existing residential or agricultural structures, such as historic barns, so that they may be preserved.

“With today’s bill signing farmers who sold their entire farms into the state’s preservation program will now have a needed means to supplement their farming operations through limited business activities that continue to protect the integrity of the land,” said Oroho. “These measures will also help make sure historic barns are preserved as a permanent part of New Jersey’s beautiful rural landscape.”

“We’re providing badly needed opportunity to farm owners who preserved their land in the early years of the preservation program,” said Space. “This is a common sense solution that will create revenue and jobs without any negative impact on preserved farms that are treasures to New Jerseyans.”

“We have preserved the farm, but not the farmer,” said Phoebus. “We need to give farmers the opportunity to earn money so they can keep and maintain their farms, and do it without breaking the sanctity of the preservation compact with New Jersey taxpayers.”

Under S-2620/A-2839, 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; and

A second bill, S-2717/A-1812, sponsored by Senator Oroho and Assemblywoman Phoebus signed into law today protects farmers in the event they are sold a detective tractor by extending protections of the “lemon law” to new farm tractors purchased in New Jersey.

“Modern farm equipment is tremendously expensive, and extremely complex,” said Phoebus. “The technology used to operate a tractor or combine is proprietary and complicated, and when it fails, the equipment is useless. Repairs are expensive and time-consuming. This law protects the farmers’ investment the same way car-buyers are protected from buying a lemon.”

A separate bill sponsored by Senator Oroho, S-2820, increasing protections for farmers operating equipment on the roadways was also signed into law today. S-2820 updates New Jersey laws regarding farm vehicles and establishes requirements that a motorist approaching farm equipment on the roadway to slow down to 35 miles per hour when passing the vehicle.

“These are welcome protections for New Jersey farmers and their families,” said Oroho. “Together, these protections and new economic opportunities will help ensure farming continues to be an integral part of this state for generations to come.”

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