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Milam & Albano Bill to Promote NJ Agricultural Tourism Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – An Assembly committee on Monday released legislation sponsored by Assembly members Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam (both D-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland) to promote agricultural tourism in New Jersey.
The bill (A-2041) would establish a statewide motorist sign system that would be easily identifiable and promote agricultural tourism attractions.
“Tourists represent a largely untapped market for agricultural establishments,” Milam said. “The very nature of farming establishments means they’re often not on heavily traveled routes, so we should do anything we can to help tourists and others from out-of-state, as well as New Jersey residents, find these gems.”
Agricultural tourism can include, among other activities, hayrides, corn mazes, pick-your-own operations, school tours, farm markets, agricultural fairs, farm festivals, winery tours and horseback riding where visitors can learn about New Jersey agriculture.
“You may not have to live on a farm to enjoy New Jersey’s agriculture, but you surely need to know how to find these places,” Albano said. “These agricultural establishments are an important sector of New Jersey’s economy, but they are under economic pressures caused by ever-increasing development. They need more than local residents as their primary customer base.”
Under the bill, the Secretary of Agriculture would establish eligibility standards for participating in the program. The Department of Transportation would establish sign specifications for the program and would implement plans for the coordination and placement of the signs, with the cooperation and approval of the county agricultural boards, county boards of agriculture, county planning boards and the Department of Agriculture.
The bill authorizes the commissioner to establish, and the county boards to collect, reasonable fees from the sites for making, erecting, and maintaining the signs used in the program. The county boards may charge an additional, reasonable fee for their services and, at their option, may defray the cost of signs used in the program.
The bill was released by the Assembly Tourism and Arts Committee.