Ag Planner, Policy-Maker Resources:
A Lifeline for Working Farms & Their Communities

It’s well established that working farms serve the public good as they are: beneficial to human health & well-being; an important component of sustainable communities; integral to conservation of natural resources & habitat; and factors in economic development & prosperity. Agritourism is a tool useful in the preservation of working farms and farmers.
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Ag Planner, Policy-Maker Resources:
Actions that Support Agritourism Enterprises

“Planners, regulators, naturalists, and environmentalists come to enjoy our rural nature agritourism amenities. Often their first comment is, ‘It’s beautiful, stop what you are doing.’ They forget it’s a working farm landscape! …that the presence of the beauty and diversity of wildlife they see is because of the farming going on, not in spite of it.”

– 6th generation NJ farmer who regularly conducts agritourism and nature tourism.

Entry into Agritourism is Complicated
Limited hospitality experience, limited investment capital, short supply of information, and a complex regulatory system impact farmers choosing agritourism. Virtually all farmers make progressive, multi-year evolving entries into agritourism. Sometimes, they conduct these activities for years before they unknowingly reach a point of being affected by particular planning policies or ordinances. They need help, not conflict.
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Ag Planner, Policy-Maker Resources:
Looking Back on NJ Farmland Preservation

Even the best designed program to protect farmland resources will ultimately fail
if farming is not profitable.

-G.S. Halich, Equity Issues in Farmland Preservation.

For five decades, New Jersey has proactively sought to preserve its agricultural base. New Jersey was an early adopter of farmland assessment, which allows qualified farmland to be assessed for tax purposes according to its use value in agriculture rather than full market value. The cornerstone of farm retention efforts in nearly all states, this policy brings farm real estate taxes in line with farm incomes. New Jersey voters have long supported financing of an aggressive farmland preservation program. As of 2011, $1.5 billion has been spent to permanently protect more than 2000 farms and nearly 200,000 acres of farmland from development. [Read more…]

Excess Farm Indebtedness: Not a Sustainable Practice

“Farmers should not depreciate their soil biological capital, nor their financial capital.”
-A New Jersey Farmer

moneyfallWhen farms fail, causes usually include financial resources, as well as the natural resources that farms depend on, like water and soil. It often goes unrecognized that farm financial resources and natural resources are intimately linked; both contribute to and are required to sustain a healthy farm. Excessive debt and resource degradation are both unsustainable practices. Of the two, resource degradation is widely discussed and investigated. However, historically indebtedness has been our country’s leading cause of agricultural sustainability failure.

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