Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Riley Bill to Allow Agricultural Tourism Events on Preserved Farmland Advanced by Assembly Panel

(Trenton) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Celeste M. Riley allowing agricultural tourism events to be held on preserved farmland was released Monday by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-3460) would allow agricultural events to be held on preserved farmland if the preserved farmland is part of a functioning farm operation engaged in agricultural or horticultural production.

"There is a reason why New Jersey is called the Garden State," said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester). "In addition to its great industrial past, New Jersey has a proud farming heritage that deserves to be showcased and preserved. This bill will encourage preservation of agricultural lands through educational and recreational activities for individuals and families."

Under the bill, the county agriculture development boards, as part of their annual inspections of preserved farms, are responsible for monitoring and confirming compliance with the provisions of the bill.

The bill defines "agricultural tourism" as affordable, recreational and educational activities and opportunities to learn about the production of food and agricultural products, and the state's farming heritage while helping to encourage the preservation of agricultural lands. This definition includes hayrides, corn mazes, pick-your-own operations, farm markets, school tours, agricultural fairs, farm festivals, weddings, winery tours and horseback riding.

The bill was released by the Assembly Tourism Committee.

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