Category: Farm and Garden

Dancer’s Bill Allowing Employees To Live On Horse Farms Advances

October 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill to allow housing for employees at facilities that board horses passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee Thursday.

The bill (A2768) would amend the Right to Farm Act to allow housing for equine-related farm employees as long as the newly constructed housing is in a separate area or level from the horses and meets all Uniform Construction Code standards, including fire ratings.

The bill also makes providing this housing an act that falls under Right to Farm protections.

“Farm employees often need more access to the horses they care for,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “They will be able to take better care of these animals if they can live on the same farm.”

Dancer’s bill will require the state agriculture development committee to adopt rules and regulations to implement the bill. The committee would adopt an agricultural management practice that permits the housing of equine-related farm employees in the same building where the horses are boarded either in a separate area or level from the horses.

“Taking care of a horse is one of the most demanding and worthwhile jobs one could do,” said Dancer. “The horse industry is important to New Jersey’s economy, and we must keep this industry thriving.”

Updates On Unsolicited Seeds From China = DO NOT PLANT Contact NJ Department Of Agriculture or USDA

July 27, 2020

SEE YESTERDAY’S MIDJERSEY.NEWS STORY HERE: If You Receive Unsolicited Seeds From China DO NOT PLANT Possibly Invasive Species

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Early yesterday (Sunday) morning the Internet started to light up with mystery seeds being delivered all over the USA including New Jersey. Do not plant these seeds since they could be contaminated or be an “invasive species” that could create havoc in the ecosystem.

For New Jersey residence that have recieved the suspicious seeds contact the NJ Department of Agriculture at 609-292-3976 or contactAg@ag.nj.gov


Information on unsolicited seeds from China

https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/news/hottopics/topics200727.html

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days. APHIS is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and State departments of agriculture to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.

Anyone in New Jersey who receives an unsolicited package of seeds from China should immediately contact the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at 609-292-3976 or contactAg@ag.nj.gov. Also, you can contact the APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.


You can also report to USDA here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/sa_sitc/ct_antismuggling

If individuals are aware of the potential smuggling of prohibited exotic fruits, vegetables, or meat products into or through the USA, they can help APHIS by contacting the confidential Antismuggling Hotline number at 800-877-3835 or by sending an Email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. USDA will make every attempt to protect the confidentiality of any information sources during an investigation within the extent of the law.


If You Receive Unsolicited Seeds From China DO NOT PLANT Possibly Invasive Species

July 26, 2020 — Update 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm


July 27, 2020 Update 9:55 pm to include additional information for reporting to NJ Department of Agriculture:

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days. APHIS is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and State departments of agriculture to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.

Anyone in New Jersey who receives an unsolicited package of seeds from China should immediately contact the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at 609-292-3976 or contactAg@ag.nj.gov. Also, you can contact the APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.


Reports from several state’s department of agriculture reporting unsolicited seeds being mailed to random residence around the country. Moments after posting the story today, MidJersey.News received a post via Facebook of a pack of seeds sent to Hopewell Township-Washington Crossing, NJ area. Be on the lookout, Do Not Plant and report to USDA APHIS link posted below.

So far reports of seeds being sent to NJ, NY, Virginia, Utah, Louisiana, Washington State and the United Kingdom.

MidJersey.News did communicate with the NJ Department of Agriculture on Sunday about the seed issue and see links below on how to report to the USDA:

Report here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/sa_sitc/ct_antismuggling


If individuals are aware of the potential smuggling of prohibited exotic fruits, vegetables, or meat products into or through the USA, they can help APHIS by contacting the confidential Antismuggling Hotline number at 800-877-3835 or by sending an Email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. USDA will make every attempt to protect the confidentiality of any information sources during an investigation within the extent of the law.


A package sent to Hopewell Township-Washington Crossing, NJ, provided by post on MidJersey.News Facebook:



Press release from Virginia:

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has been notified that several Virginia residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them.

Please do not plant these seeds. VDACS encourages anyone who has received unsolicited seeds in the mail that appears to have Chinese origin to contact the Office of Plant Industry Services (OPIS) at 804.786.3515 or through the ReportAPest@vdacs.virginia.gov email.

Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops. Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.


Health And Safety Protocols For Horse Racing In NJ

May 30, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy and Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan today announced an Administrative Order authorizing horse racetracks to reopen on June 1st with no spectators, and with health and safety protocols in place. The Order will take effect immediately.

“Horse racing is an important part of our state economy and a beloved pastime in New Jersey.” said Governor Murphy. “I am happy to announce that after close consultation with our office, racetracks in our state will be able to reopen in the coming days.”

Racetracks will be able to open on June 1st, for racing without spectators. The AO also requires racetracks to adhere to a number of social distancing requirements that are laid out in the order. Under the order, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Racing Commission, or her designee, will have the authority to inspect racetracks to ensure that all required policies are being followed.

A copy of the Administrative Order can be found here.


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Dancer bill excluding horse-boarding services from sales tax goes to governor’s desk

January 13, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. – Both the Senate and Assembly passed legislation (A1045) today, sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer, to exempt horse boarding, maintenance and related services from the state sales tax.

“There has been ongoing confusion in the industry about tax responsibilities, and as a result, stables have closed up shop and abandoned the state,” said Dancer (R-Ocean), who has been pushing the measure since November 2013.

Horse boarding, maintenance and servicing businesses are required to register as a seller with the Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury. Under current law, they are being taxed as “space for storage.” The bill relieves these businesses and services from sales tax obligations.

“Our neighboring states do not charge sales tax on horse boarding services. By leveling the playing field, New Jersey’s equine horse industry will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage,” Dancer continued.  “Establishing clear sales tax guidelines will save New Jersey jobs and businesses. Horses are farm livestock, not ‘storage units’ in a warehouse and are stabled, not stored. I thank the Legislature for advancing this important bill.”

The Rutgers Equine Science Center estimates the horse industry contributes more than $1 billion to the economy in a state with more than $4 billion in equine-related assets.

The bill now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy for consideration.

Committee clears Dancer bill creating a loan program and tax credits for new vineyards and wineries in five counties

January 7, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a bill (A544), sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer, that will establish a loan program and provide tax credits for new vineyards and wineries in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

“New Jersey’s wine industry is very valuable. It not only supports the state’s economy and jobs, but also tourism,” said Dancer. “It’s smart to encourage the growth of new wineries and vineyards and help existing wineries stay competitive.” 

Under the bill, the Economic Development Authority in consultation with the Department of Agriculture will develop a 10-year pilot program to issue low-interest loans to farmers for qualified costs for new vineyards. The costs can include preparing the land for planting, purchasing vines or trees, and equipment and supplies for that purpose. This bill also allows eligible taxpayers to apply for a tax credit against either their Corporation Business Tax or Gross Income Tax liability for 25 percent of the qualified capital expenses for establishing a new vineyard or winery, or capital improvements to an existing vineyard or winery in the eligible counties.

According to a study released by the Garden State Wine Growers Association, New Jersey’s wine industry had a $323 million economic impact on the state in 2016, an increase of nearly 40 percent from 2011. During that same five-year period, the number of wineries in the state increased from 38 to 50. In 2016, wine, grapes and related industries accounted for 1,979 jobs with the majority of the jobs being in the actual wineries and vineyards with an associated payroll of $85.57 million.

The EDA will submit annual reports to the governor and the Legislature summarizing the loan and tax credit programs, including the effectiveness of increasing acreage of commercial vineyards and the number of wineries in the eligible counties.

The bill passed the Senate in 2018 and needs a vote by the fully Assembly before going to the governor. 

Dancer bill excluding horse-boarding services from sales tax advances

January 7, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. – Today the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee advanced legislation (A1045) sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer that would exempt horse boarding, maintenance and related services from the state sales tax.

“There has been ongoing confusion in the industry about tax responsibilities, and as a result, stables have closed up shop and abandoned the state,” said Dancer (R-Ocean), who has been pushing the measure since November 2013.

Horse boarding, maintenance and servicing businesses are required to register as a seller with the Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury. Under current law, they are being taxed as “space for storage.” The bill relieves these businesses and services from sales tax obligations.

“Horse-related business plays an important role in our state’s economy,” Dancer continued.  “Establishing clear sales tax guidelines will save New Jersey jobs and businesses. Horses are farm livestock, not ‘storage units’ in a warehouse and are stabled, not stored.”

The Rutgers Equine Science Center estimates the horse industry contributes more than $1 billion to the economy in a state with more than $4 billion in equine-related assets.

The bill will now go to the Senate President for consideration. It passed the Assembly in June 2018.

NJ Set to Enact Plastic Ban and 10 cent Paper Bag Fee Tax

Editorial, Opinion

December 5, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–State Senators Bob Smith and Linda Greenstein have proposed S2776 that bans several plastic items and adds a 10 cent fee tax to paper bags that are the alternatives to plastic.

The intent of the legislation by enacting a “ban” of items is the way to go but any “tax” should be eliminated from bill.

If plastic is really harming the environment lets ban it rather than tax it. Lets not tax the alternatives such as “paper” bags since they break down in the environment, can be recycled and composted and do not cause harm like plastic.

Lets make this bill about the “environment” and not about the money and fee taxes by eliminating the tax language on paper bags in the bill.

I belong to an organic CSA and for the past couple of years they have provided “Compostable” faux plastic bags as an alternative to regular vegetable bags. I tried to compost the bags in the summer of 2018 and they did not break down well and in the spring of 2019 I found them in the garden wrapped around the tines of the rotor tiller.

In the summer of 2019 the CSA ran out of regular plastic vegetable bags and the only choice was to use the compost bags so when I returned home I proceeded to start an experiment to see how long it would take to break down the “compostable” bag.

Results of the experiment is that paper bags break down and the faux plastic also breaks down but takes a little longer than paper to break down. Paper bag will also break down in the environment in a similar way not causing harm to the environment like plastic bags do:

Video final results after 3 months: November 21, 2019:

7 Weeks October 7, 2019

10 Day Compost Update, August 30, 2019:

Start of composting experiment August 20, 2019:

Composting video on how to compost:

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Update: Bill A-4800 Special Licence Plate for State Animal the Horse Passes Committee

November 17, 2019 Updated November 19, 2019

Update: I have revived a communication from Assemblyman Ron Dancer that Bill A-4800 passed the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee and will advance to the next process. See below:

“I am a co-sponsor of A4800 and am pleased to inform you that the bill passed Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on November 18, 2019. “

Ron Dancer
Assemblyman
12th Legislative District

TRENTON, NJ–Assembly Transportation and Committee will hear the Bill A-4800 on Monday November 18, 2019 for creation of a special licence plate for NJ’s State Animal the horse. The bill originally introduced on December 10, 2018 is sponsored by: Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson, Co sponsored by Assemblymen Thompson and Dancer

Holiday Fun at the Horse Farm

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

November 16, 2019

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ–The Standardbred Retirement Foundation held their “Holiday Fun at the Horse Farm” event Sunday. There was plenty to see and do for all, including a baby and mother horse where mom was tagged for slaughter and rescued. Horses were being shown in the riding rink outside as well as in the barn. A charity auction, outdoor fire place with marshmallows on a stick with hot cocoa, wine tasting, holiday shopping, free tack items, and the “Horse Plop Bingo” kept everyone busy.

Also at the event was several dogs saved from India and Baku City, Azerbaijan (Former Soviet Republic) by Zani’s Furry Friends ZFF, inc. The non-profit rescues animals internationally and finds homes for the animals. To adopt a furry friend see this link.

Horses are available for adoption from the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 42 Arneytown-Hornerstown Rd, Cream Ridge, NJ 08514