Right to Farm Program
The Right to Farm Act was passed by the State Legislature in 1983. Its purpose was to promote the continuation of agriculture in the State of New Jersey while recognizing the potential conflicts among all lawful activities in the State. The Act was amended in 1998. The Legislature’s intent when amending the Act, was to afford the farmer additional protection against municipal regulations and private nuisance suits. The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) administers the State Right to Farm Program. County Agriculture Development Boards administer the program at the County level.
The amended Act states that notwithstanding the provisions of any municipal or county ordinance, resolution, or regulation to the contrary, the owner or operator of a commercial farm is permitted to conduct agricultural activities listed in the Act, provided that the farm meets the eligibility criteria of the Act.
The amended Act assigned new responsibilities to the CADBs. These responsibilities include administration of the Conflict Resolution Process and development of site-specific agricultural management practices (AMPs) for eligible farms.
Information for Farmers
- Am I Protected by the Right to Farm Act?(PDF, 24KB)
Request for a Site Specific Agricultural Management Practice
Pursuant to the Right to Farm Act, a commercial farm owner or operator may request that the CADB develop a site-specific Agricultural Management Practice (AMP) for his or her operation and determine if the operation constitutes a generally accepted agricultural operation or practice, which is entitled to protection under the Act. The site-specific AMP will be developed in conformance with guidelines listed in the State Agriculture Development Committee’s Right to Farm Rules at N.J.A.C. 2:76-2.3. The process is also outlined below. To request the Morris CADB to develop a site-specific AMP, please use the Application for a Site Specific AMP(PDF, 63KB) .
The Conflict Resolution Process
Pursuant to the Right to Farm Act, any person aggrieved by the operation of a commercial farm must first file a complaint, in writing, with the CADB prior to filing an action in court, triggering the Conflict Resolution Process. The Conflict Resolution Process was designed to reduce litigation time and expense incurred by the agricultural community and to foster better communication between farmers, municipalities, and private citizens. The Conflict Resolution Process is outlined in the State Agriculture Development Committee’s Right to Farm Rules at N.J.A.C. 2:76-2.7.
The Right to Farm Mediation Program
In 2001, the SADC created the 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. Mediation can save time and costly legal fees. It is a free and confidential service and generally takes only a few meetings to complete. Mediation can be used to resolve Right to Farm disputes between farmers and their neighbors, between farmers and municipalities, credit disputes with the Farm Service Agency or private lenders, and other conflicts involving U.S. Department of Agriculture programs. The program is available as an alternative to the Conflict Resolution Process under the Right to Farm Act. Under the Conflict Resolution Process, complaints are addressed through a series of formal public hearings in which testimony is presented and witnesses may be called. If participation in the Mediation Program is desired, it should be requested before public hearings begin. A Mediation Request Form is available from the SADC web site (see below) or by calling (609) 984-2504.
Information for Municipal Officials and farm neighbors