Township of Branchburg, NJ
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 2004-950, § 1]
The purpose 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 municipal regulations and private nuisance suits where agricultural management practices are applied and are consistent with relevant federal and state law and nonthreatening to the public health and safety.
[Ord. No. 2004-950, § 1]
AGRICULTURE
Shall mean production for sale of plants and animals useful to man, including but not limited to:
a. 
Forages and sod crops; or
b. 
Grains and feed crops; or
c. 
Dairy animals and dairy products; or
d. 
Poultry and poultry products; or
e. 
Livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, horses, ponies, mules or goats, including the breeding, boarding, raising, rehabilitating, training or grazing of any or all of such animals, except that "livestock" shall not include dogs; or
f. 
Bees and apiary products; or
g. 
Fur animals, trees and forest products; or
h. 
When devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments and other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the Federal government.
i. 
"Agriculture" shall not include intensive poultry or swine production or extensive animal feed lot operations.
COMMERCIAL FARM
Shall mean:
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
Shall mean 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 STAND
Shall mean a facility 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 stand is used for retail marketing at least 51% of the annual gross sales of the retail farm stand 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 agricultural output of the commercial farm; provided, however, that if the retail farm stand is located on land less than five acres in area, the land on which the farm stand is located shall produce annually agricultural or horticultural products worth at least $2,500.
NUISANCE
Shall mean any private action which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of another's property, which may be enjoined or abated and for which the injured or affected property owner may recover damages.
[Ord. No. 2004-950, § 1]
a. 
The right to engage in agriculture, as defined herein, shall be permitted in Branchburg Township as permitted by zoning and other land use regulations and as permitted by State law, and such uses and activities, and structures in connection therewith, shall not constitute a public or private nuisance, provided that the operation conforms to agricultural management practices recommended by the State Agricultural Development Committee and adopted pursuant 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 Somerset County Agricultural Development Board to constitute a generally accepted agricultural operation or practice. Agricultural use shall include the following activities but not be limited to them:
1. 
The storage, processing, packaging and sale of farm products where produced, including sale of farm products at a farm stand.
2. 
The use of irrigation pumps and equipment, aerial and ground seeding and spraying, trucks, tractors and other equipment.
3. 
The application of manure, chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides and herbicides in accordance with manufacturers' instructions.
4. 
On-site disposal of organic agricultural waste.
5. 
Installation of soil and water conservation practices in accordance with a conservation plan approved by the Somerset-Union Soil Conservation District.
6. 
Transportation of slow-moving equipment over roads within the municipality.
7. 
Utilization of tractors and other necessary equipment.
8. 
The employment of farm laborers living on or off the farm.
9. 
The creation of noise, dust, odors and fumes inherently associated with such uses.
10. 
The conducting of farm practices at any and all times when necessary.
11. 
Recreational use as permitted by the farm owner, with the provision that any recreational use of farm land that changes the underlying agricultural nature of the land shall be subject to the usual site plan review, variance application and all permits where otherwise required.
12. 
Provisions for the wholesale and retail marketing of the agricultural output of the farm which include the building of temporary and permanent structures and parking areas for said purpose which all must conform to municipal land development standards. Temporary and permanent structures shall be considered a "farm stand" and must comply with the definition of such in subsection 25-1.2.
13. 
The raising and keeping of farm animals, including pets, pastoral farm animals (dairy and beef cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats), swine, fowl, ostriches, horses, ponies and mules, provided that proper sanitation standards, minimum acreage limits and boundary sizes between fencing or enclosures and joining properties are established.
14. 
The control of vermin and pests provided that such control is practiced under applicable State fish and game laws.
15. 
Conducting 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.
16. 
Engaging in any other agricultural activity as determined by the State Agricultural Development Committee and adopted by rule or regulation pursuant to the provisions of the said Administrative Procedure Act (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.).
[Ord. No. 2004-950, § 1]
No agricultural activity, operation, or facility conducted or maintained for commercial purposes and in a manner consistent with relevant Federal and State laws shall be or become a nuisance, public or private. It is hereby determined that whatever nuisance may be caused to others by such activities is more than offset by the benefits derived from the continuation of farming in the community. The preservation of farming in Branchburg Township and New Jersey is a source of agricultural products for this and future generations while saving a nonrenewable resource, i.e., prime agricultural soils.
[Ord. No. 2004-950, § 1]
a. 
The following language shall be included in the deed of any newly subdivided lot in the Township within 200 feet of a commercial farm actively engaged in agriculture:
"Grantee is hereby noticed that there is, or may in the future be, active agriculture 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 of Branchburg Township."
b. 
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 similar to the deed notification described above.
[Ord. No. 2004-950, § 1]
a. 
All complaints concerning activities protected hereunder shall be in writing and forwarded to the Township Committee. The Township Committee shall refer the complaint to its duly appointed Agricultural Advisory Committee for mediation.
b. 
Upon referral of such a complaint by the Township Committee, and within 21 days thereafter, the Agricultural Advisory Committee shall invite the parties to discuss the nature of the complaint and shall recommend a solution, which shall take into consideration the interests of all parties. The recommendation of the Agricultural Advisory Committee shall be nonbinding and shall not abridge the right of either party to take legal action or to pursue any remedy provided in the General Ordinances of the Township, State regulations or State law. The Agricultural Advisory Committee shall issue a written report of its recommendations and reasons therefor to the Township Committee within 14 days from the date thereof. The Township Committee shall accept, modify or remand the matter to the Agricultural Advisory Committee for further hearing within 28 days from its receipt of the Agricultural Advisory Committee's written report. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision of Agricultural Advisory Committee, he or she may pursue other remedies as provided under applicable law.
c. 
The members of the Agricultural Advisory Committee shall not be held liable for errors in fact or judgment expressed in findings regarding matters referred to it by the Township Committee.