New Jersey Farm Bureau News

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Contacts: Ed Wengryn -or- Helen Heinrich; 908-568-4939 or 609-393-7163

NJDEP’s Proposed Revisions to Highlands Rules Get it Right

(TRENTON) — New Jersey Farm Bureau (NJFB), the state’s largest organization of farmers and landowners, is pleased to see the positive changes that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is proposing in Septic Density rules for the Highlands.

“One of the most positive changes we see is the reduction in lot sizes and the alignment of the Highland septic density rules with the Highlands regional master plan”, said Ryck Suydam, president of New Jersey Farm Bureau. “The old septic density model was based on arbitrary science and the simple land use classifications of forested or non-forested lands. The new rule is based on sound, peer-reviewed science and links septic density with the Highlands region’s three land use capability planning zones…protection, conservation and existing community. These changes also help protect landowner equity in the region, which is crucial to the welfare of the agricultural industry,” he added.

Farm Bureau is also supportive of the use of greater data sets in establishing background nitrate levels for the three capability planning zones.

“New Jersey Farm Bureau first challenged NJDEP in 2005 when it proposed emergency rules for water quality in the Highlands. One of the complaints was the limited use of data to establish background water quality standards. This rule proposal reflects the use of greater data,” said Suydam.

Through the development of the Highlands Regional Master Plan and the corresponding NJDEP rules, New Jersey Farm Bureau supported the use of sound science to ensure that the rules reflect the real world conditions in the Highlands region and permit the council and its constituent municipalities to take advantage of planning tools that balance growth with natural resource protection. This new rule proposal does just that.


More than a decade ago, Kirby Bros. stopped blending corn, oats, and bran and topping the concoction with molasses to satisfy the cravings of horses that had long been part of the South Jersey landscape. The 100-pound bag of horse feed, priced at $13.60, was the biggest seller, said Chuck Kirby, who inherited the 140-year-old family business and mill in Medford and operated it with his wife, Jan, and their son, Chaz.

As farms started to disappear, Chuck Kirby said, it made more sense to import livestock feed from Pennsylvania for their customers and to introduce a new line of food for pets, birds, and wildlife as suburbanites moved into the area.

Click here to read the full story from philly.com.

Farm Bureau submitted comments recently on NJDEP’s proposed revisions to the Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) rule. This rule guides development statewide by providing a framework for municipal and county planning agencies to identify areas suitable for current and future wastewater infrastructure. The original version put forward by former Gov. Jon Corzine’s administration with rural landowners was highly problematic for its attempted use of large lot regulation under septic density schemes. As with the pending updates to the Flood Hazard rule, NJDEP’s current proposed overhaul of its WQMP rule seeks to streamline water management planning by eliminating duplicative regulatory requirements and enabling local planning entities more discretion in making site-specific determinations that balance environmental protection and economic growth.

Click here to read NJFB’s WQMP Comments


The NJFB Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee will hold their annual meeting on Sunday, November 15th at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village (201 Village Blvd, Princeton). The meeting begins at 10AM. Topics on the agenda include Natural Resource conservation Planning for you farm; food safety rules; and farm business planning, among others. We are also fortunate to have the National YF&R Chair, Jon Hegeman, as our guest for this meeting.

All young farmers and ag enthusiasts (ages 18-35) are encouraged and welcome to attend! A complimentary lunch will be provided. Please be sure to RSVP to Liz Thompson at 609-393-7163 or at lizt@njfb.org by November 9th, so we can provide the hotel an accurate count for lunch.

Click here for a complete agenda. 2015 YF&R Annual Meeting agenda