May 27, 2022
TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly on Thursday passed Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill that will allow wineries on preserved farmlands to continue hosting special occasion events.
Dancer’s bill (A4037) reinstates the pilot program allowing those special occasion events for two years once the bill is adopted. The bill also retroactively approves such events held since May 30, 2020, when the program expired and confusion reigned over its status.
“Reports from the initial winery pilot program showed it to be a huge success. Not only did it improve farms’ bottom lines, but we saw an increase in overall ‘agritourism,’” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “My bill helps the state’s agricultural community remain economically viable by permitting more public activities at wineries on preserved farms.”
The bill allows wineries on preserved farmland to hold special occasion events, such as weddings or other milestone celebrations, provided the farm produces agricultural or horticultural products. The pilot program was launched back in 2014, and renewed in 2018, with seven of the 19 wineries on preserved farmland participating.
“Agritourism is a $1 billion industry in the U.S. that has created 9 million jobs since 2007, and continues to grow,” Dancer said. “I am committed to helping this industry grow in the Garden State, and I’m gratified that this goal has strong bipartisan support.”
The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for signing.