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Andrzejczak, Taliaferro & Houghtaling Bill to Make Costly Farm Equipment More Affordable Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bob Andrzejczak, Adam Taliaferro and Eric Houghtaling to make it easier for New Jersey’s farmers to afford costly farm equipment was released Thursday by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
“Farm equipment can be very expensive,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), who chairs the committee. “By making these loans available, we can help our farmers grow, especially those with smaller operations who may be unable to afford such high-priced equipment on their own. Let’s invest in our farmers and the state’s agricultural industry.”
“This loan program allows farmers to share the cost and the equipment,” said Taliaferro (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Many companies are benefitting from the rise of the sharing economy. There is no reason why our farmers should not enjoy the same cost-sharing benefits.”
“Farm equipment can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. For a small farm looking to expand, this may be a deal-breaker,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “These loans make it possible for smaller farms to afford equipment that might be out of their price range, but is needed to grow.”
The bill (A-3057) would require the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, to maintain and administer a loan program for the purpose of providing loans to two or more eligible farming operations to purchase farm equipment.
Farm equipment purchased with loan funds must be used by two or more eligible farming operations acting jointly. Under the bill, an “eligible farming operation” is one or more farming operations that are independently owned and operated, operate within this state, participate in an agricultural commodity or product marketing and development program operated by the Department of Agriculture, and which satisfy other criteria that may be established by the EDA.
Under the bill, EDA-approved loans to eligible farming operations must be made pursuant to a loan agreement, bear interest at rates and terms deemed appropriate by the EDA, and contain other terms and conditions considered appropriate by the EDA that are consistent with the purposes of the bill and with rules and regulations promulgated by the EDA to implement the bill.
This bill would take effect immediately.