The law firm of Novins York & Jacobus is fully aware of the Right to Farm Act and the protection it provides farmers from government regulation, civil claims and municipal prosecution. If you have been served with a Summons from your municipality, our office is able to help. Most attorneys are unfamiliar with the Right to Farm Act and allow farmers to submit to the jurisdiction of municipal courts and land use boards. As former counsel to the Ocean County Agriculture Development Board, Ms. Dooley is able to have these disputes transferred to their proper venue, the County Agriculture Development Boards, where they can be reviewed by fellow farmers who understand your situation.
Further, farmers have rights as to the various types of agriculture practices on their land, which may not be currently recognized by the SADC or your County Agriculture Development Board. Our office can assist you to obtain a site specific agriculture management practice to enable your farm to perform to its greatest agricultural ability and profitability.
Right to Farm
The Right to Farm Program works with and educates farmers, residents, and municipalities about the Right to Farm Act, the Act’s formal conflict resolution process, and additional strategies for resolving agriculture-related disputes and supporting a positive agricultural business environment.
The Right to Farm Act protects responsible commercial farms from public and private nuisance actions and unduly restrictive municipal regulations.
In the event of a dispute, an individual or municipality aggrieved by the operation of a commercial farm is required to file a formal complaint with the appropriate County Agriculture Development Board (CADB), or the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) in counties where no CADBs exist, prior to filing action in court.
The Right to Farm Program has a formal conflict resolution process to help farmers, neighbors, and municipalities resolve such disputes.
Parties involved in a dispute may also take advantage of the SADC’s Agricultural Mediation Program. This program offers a more informal way to resolve conflicts. The mediation process is voluntary, involves a trained and impartial mediator, and typically consists of one or two short mediation sessions. Because the mediator has no decision making authority, successful mediation is based on the voluntary participation and cooperation of all parties.
The SADC coordinates the Right to Farm Program in partnership with New Jersey’s eighteen CADBs.
Agriculture Management Practices (AMPs)
To be eligible for Right to Farm Act protection, a commercial farm must be in compliance with agricultural management practices (AMPs) that have been adopted by the SADC or with generally accepted agricultural management practices.
The SADC has adopted twelve AMPs. Should a right to farm matter concern activities not addressed by an AMP, the SADC or a County Agriculture Development Board (CADB) would determine whether or not the activities comply with generally accepted operations or practices.
Commercial farms may request that their CADB, or the SADC in counties where no CADB exists, determine whether their site-specific operations constitute generally accepted operations or practices. This is known as requesting a site-specific AMP determination.
A commercial farm’s operation or practices will be entitled to protection if the CADB or SADC determines that the farm meets the Act’s eligibility criteria. When a site-specific AMP request is made, the municipality in which the farm is located is notified, and municipal input is considered when requests involve potential preemption of municipal regulations.
The site-specific AMP process is outlined in the Right to Farm Program’s rules at N.J.A.C. 2:76-2.3. For more information on the types of determinations made in site-specific AMP cases, see the Right to Farm Program’s compilation of compilation of site-specific AMP determinations.