[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Holland 8-2-1983. Amended in its entirety 4-6-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-7; subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter may be known and shall be cited by the short title of "Holland Township Right-to-Farm Ordinance."
The intent of this chapter is to recognize state law regarding the right to farm [such as the Right to Farm Act (N.J.S.A. 4:1C-1 et seq.)], and to assure the continuation and expansion of commercial and home agricultural pursuits by encouraging a positive agricultural business climate and protecting the farmer against inappropriate municipal regulations and private nuisance suits, where best management practices are applied and are consistent with relevant federal and state law and nonthreatening to the public health and safety.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- In accordance with N.J.S.A. 4:1C-13 b., the use of land for common farmsite activities, including but not limited to production, harvesting, storage, grading, packaging, processing and the wholesale and retail marketing of crops, plants, animals and other related commodities and the use and application of techniques and methods of soil preparation and management, fertilization, weed, disease and pest control, disposal of farm waste, irrigation, drainage and water management, and grazing.
- A. A farm management unit of no less than five acres producing agricultural or horticultural products worth $2,500 or more annually and satisfying the eligibility criteria for differential property taxation pursuant to the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964 (N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.1 et seq.); or
- B. A farm management unit less than five acres producing agricultural or horticultural products worth $50,000 or more annually and otherwise satisfying the eligibility criteria for differential property taxation pursuant to the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964.
- FARM MANAGEMENT UNIT
- A parcel or parcels of land, whether contiguous or noncontiguous, together with agricultural or horticultural buildings, structures and facilities, producing agricultural or horticultural products and operated as a single enterprise.
- FARM MARKET
- A facility used for the wholesale or retail marketing of the agricultural output of a commercial farm, and products that contribute to farm income, except that if a farm market is used for retail marketing at least 51% of the annual gross sales of the retail farm market shall be generated from sales of agricultural output of the commercial farm, or at least 51% of the sales area shall be devoted to the sale of the agricultural output of the commercial farm, and except that if a retail farm market is located on land less than five acres in area, the land on which the farm market is located shall produce annually agricultural or horticultural products worth at least $2,500.
- PICK-YOUR-OWN OPERATION
- A direct marketing alternative wherein retail or wholesale customers are invited onto a commercial farm in order to harvest agricultural, floricultural or horticultural products.
The right to farm or engage in agriculture, as defined herein, shall be permitted in Holland Township as permitted by zoning and other land use regulations and as permitted by state law, and it shall be presumed that such uses and activities, and structures in connection therewith, shall not constitute a public or private nuisance, provided that the operation conforms the provisions of N.J.S.A. 4:1C-10 and to agricultural management practices recommended by the State Agricultural Development Committee and adopted to the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.) or whose specific operation or practice has been determined by the Hunterdon County Agricultural Development Board to constitute a generally accepted agricultural operation or practice.
Consistent with the foregoing, the owner and operator of a commercial farm, qualifying under N.J.S.A. 4:1C-9 (of the State Right to Farm Act), may engage in all agricultural activities permitted by N.J.S.A. 4:1C-9.
Consistent with the foregoing, permissible agricultural activities include, but not by way of limitation:
Production of agricultural and horticultural crops, trees, apiary and forest products, livestock, poultry and other commodities as described in the Standard Industrial Classification for agriculture, forestry, fishing and trapping.
Housing in accordance with appropriate zoning regulations, and employment of necessary farm laborers.
Erection of essential agricultural buildings, including those dedicated to the processing and packaging of the output of the commercial farm and ancillary to agricultural and horticultural production.
The grazing of animals and use of range for fowl.
Construction of fences.
The operation and transportation of large, slow-moving equipment over roads within the Township.
Control of pests, including but not limited to insects and weeds, predators and diseases of plants and animals.
Conducting of agriculture-related educational and farm-based recreational activities provided that the activities are related to marketing the agricultural or horticultural output of the commercial farm and permission of the farm owner and lessee is obtained.
Use of any and all equipment, including but not limited to irrigation pumps and equipment, aerial and ground seeding and spraying, tractors, harvest aides, and bird-control devices.
Processing and packaging of the agricultural output of the commercial farm.
The operation of a farm market with attendant signage, including the construction of building and parking areas in conformance with Township standards.
The operation of a pick-your-own operation with attendant signage.
Replenishment of soil nutrients and improvement of soil tilth.
Clearing of woodlands using open burning and other techniques, installation and maintenance of vegetative and terrain alterations and other physical facilities for water and soil conservation and surface water control in wetland areas.
On-site disposal of organic agricultural wastes.
The application of manure and chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides.
Installation of wells, ponds and other water resources for agricultural purposes such as irrigation, sanitation and marketing preparation.
Commercial farm operators may engage in any other agricultural activity as determined by the State Agriculture Development Committee and adopted by rule or regulation pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.).
Commercial farm operators are strongly advised to adhere to generally accepted agricultural management practices that have been:
Promulgated as rules by the State Agriculture Development Committee;
Recommended as site-specific agricultural management practices by the County Agriculture Development Board;
Approved by the local soil conservation district in the form of a farm conservation plan that is prepared in conformance with the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG), revised April 20, 1998, as amended and supplemented; or
Recommended by the Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station.
The foregoing activities must be in conformance with applicable federal and state law.
The foregoing practices and activities may occur on holidays, weekdays and weekends by day or night and shall include the attendant or incidental noise, odors, dust and fumes normally associated with these practices.
Any person aggrieved by the operation of a commercial farm may file a complaint with the Hunterdon County Agriculture Development Board.
To help parties resolve conflicts involving the operation of commercial farms, the State Agriculture Development Committee has also established an Agricultural Mediation Program. Mediation is a voluntary process in which a trained, impartial mediator helps disputing parties examine their mutual problems, identify and consider options, and determine if they can agree on a solution. A mediator has no decision-making authority. Successful mediation is based on the voluntary cooperation and participation of all the parties.
An additional purpose of this Chapter 81 is to promote a good-neighbor policy by advising purchasers and users of real property adjacent to or near commercial farms of accepted activities or practices associated with those neighboring farms. It is intended that, through mandatory disclosures, purchasers and users will better understand the impacts of living near agricultural operations and be prepared to accept attendant conditions as the natural result of living in or near land actively devoted to commercial agriculture or in an Agricultural Development Area, meaning an area identified by a county agriculture development board pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A.4:1C-18 and certified by the State Agriculture Development Committee.
The Township will take reasonable steps to make it possible for real estate salespersons to provide notification to prospective purchasers of land in this Township, using language included in the sample Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement, annexed to this Chapter 81 as Exhibit A.
Editor's Note: Exhibit A is on file in the Township offices.
Additionally, the following language shall be included in the deed of any newly subdivided lot in the Township, any part of which is located in any zoning district where agriculture is a permitted principal use: "Grantee is hereby given notice that there is, or may in the future be, farm use near the premises described in this deed, from which may emanate noise, odors, dust and fumes associated with agricultural practices permitted under the Right-to-Farm Ordinance, Chapter 81 of the Code of the Township of Holland."
This chapter is adopted in accordance with the New Jersey Right to Farm Act (N.J.S.A. 4:1C-1 et seq.), and regulations duly adopted thereunder, and is not adopted pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq.), and consequently this Chapter 81 is not a municipal zoning or subdivision ordinance. While nothing in this Chapter 81 is intended to be construed to permit any use of land or structure in any manner contrary to Chapter 100, Land Use, of this Code, under applicable state law the provisions of this Chapter 81 and Chapter 100 are to be applied in a manner which gives appropriate consideration to agricultural practices at issue and also to zoning and other land use regulations. It is recognized that in the event of a conflict between Chapter 81 and Chapter 100, in accordance with state law, resolution procedures involving the Hunterdon County Agriculture Development Board may be utilized.