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Author Topic: Is any sawmill operation eligible for any farmland/agriculture designation?  (Read 4239 times)

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Offline JSwigga

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We mill, dry, and sell reclaimed wood that we sawed from storm damaged and nuisance trees.  My local twp officials are starting to give me some grief about "encroaching" on my farming operation.  They obviously want to me to zone commercial and start treating me like a production mill.  Anyone else have any experience with this issue?  Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
60" Lucas Dedicated Slabber, TimberKing 2200 , 5 ton Nissan forklift, John Deere FEL

Offline Holmes

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Here in Ma. if you have a farm you can do almost anything under the farm umbrella. I think it's a state  law, but the towns do not like it if you try to use that law.  You need to prove your property is used for farm purposes .  Silviculture is farming.
Think like a farmer.

Offline barbender

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My understanding is, in my area, you can have a sawmill on homesteaded residential zoned property, as it falls under agricultural use. If you get into secondary processing, I don't know. And you don't live in my area ;)
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Delawhere Jack

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Ah, The Peoples Republic of New Jersey has crossed the Rt 322 boundary........   :-\

Relocate south of Rt40, that should buy you a few more years of freedom.  ;)

The only advice I can offer is, don't say a word to the township officials until you've done your homework. As much as I hate to say it, money spent on a lawyer may be well spent in this case.

Offline Ianab

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It may be that processing your own trees falls under a farming umbrella. It's when you start bringing in raw material, logs and reclaimed wood to process that you become an "industrial" operation.

Ian
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Offline rmack

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We mill, dry, and sell reclaimed wood that we sawed from storm damaged and nuisance trees.  My local twp officials are starting to give me some grief about "encroaching" on my farming operation.  They obviously want to me to zone commercial and start treating me like a production mill.  Anyone else have any experience with this issue?  Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

tell him you're building chicken coops.  :)
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Offline scsmith42

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I went down a similar path recently, and prevailed.

The perspective that my attorney and I presented to the county officials was as follows:

1 - I have a valid farm, recognized by both the USDA and the state Ag dept.
2.  The recognized authority on milling and drying lumber at a national level is the United States Department of Agriculture, of which the Forestry Products Laboratory is a part of the USDA.  There are numerous documents published by the USDA and FPL on milling and drying lumber.
3 - At my State level, the recognized authorities (and information sources) for milling and lumber drying are the County Extension Agents, which are a part of the College of Agriculture at the State University.
4.  A farm based milling and drying operation is  not a "lumber yard".  A "Lumber Yard" is a retail establishment that does not mill or dry lumber; instead it sells lumber which is milled and dried by others, along with other commercial building supply products.  Examples of "lumber yards" include Home Depot, Commercial building supply houses, etc.

For these reasons, we successfully argued that my milling and drying activity was a valid agricultural activity, and the county agreed.  Having my attorney involved was a plus (I was proactive in getting my attorney involved when I was first questioned by the local authorities).
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Online POSTON WIDEHEAD

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Wow Scott! Good info. Thanks for sharing.  smiley_thumbsup

I have copied and pasted this to my files.
Where's the Spoon?

Offline Holmes

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Excellent way to go about it Scott. That info could be helpful to a lot of sawyer/ farmers in the future
Think like a farmer.

Offline red oaks lumber

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i had no problems with farming/ lumber reman. every state and counties within those states are all differant laws. the only advice i can bring is, be the best neibor you can be.
the experts think i do things wrong
 over 18 million b.f. processed and 7341 happy customers i disagree

Offline woodmills1

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In NH, logging and lumbering are agricultural operations according to state regulations, although I had to battle my town to prove it.  If I have some time I will try to look at some Jersey law
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline woodmills1

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here is the definition of agriculture from NJSA 54:4-23.5

this is a law regulating the taxing of land as farmland but is a legal definition of Ag use for NJ

"Agricultural use" is land devoted to the production for sale of plants and animals useful to man, including but not limited to forages and sod crops; grains and feed crops; dairy and dairy products; poultry and poultry products; livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules or goats, including the breeding, boarding, raising, rehabilitating, training or grazing of any or all such animals (except "livestock" shall not include dogs); bees and apiary products; fur animals; trees and forest products or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the Federal Government.


If you look at "production for sale"   then  "trees and forest products"  I would believe that bothe lumber and firewood would be forest products
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline LaneC

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I was wondering about this issue myself. I wonder if you have to get some kind of permit or something to be able to saw your own tress, or if you were stationary and had people bring trees to you to saw. Has anyone ever had any logs sawn on their own land by someone else with a portable mill and had to get any type of permit or anything?
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Offline ET

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Very good topic. I had outlined and printed out my business plan in plain english which included sawing my own timber and buying timber and custom sawing and just about all other aspects of millig. I took this business plan in front of my twp zoning board before i spent my first penny. I received a unaminous approval as long as i remain a mom and pop operation.
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Offline shortlogger

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I guess I am spoilt . I do what I want how I want with my land with no involvement from the local gov.
1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase . "NKJV"

Offline xlogger

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Scott, might have to get that lawyer's name from you. My neighbor still calls the zoning people on me here. My land is zone Ag.
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Offline JSwigga

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here is the definition of agriculture from NJSA 54:4-23.5

this is a law regulating the taxing of land as farmland but is a legal definition of Ag use for NJ

"Agricultural use" is land devoted to the production for sale of plants and animals useful to man, including but not limited to forages and sod crops; grains and feed crops; dairy and dairy products; poultry and poultry products; livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules or goats, including the breeding, boarding, raising, rehabilitating, training or grazing of any or all such animals (except "livestock" shall not include dogs); bees and apiary products; fur animals; trees and forest products or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the Federal Government.


If you look at "production for sale"   then  "trees and forest products"  I would believe that bothe lumber and firewood would be forest products

wow.. Thanks a lot.   I'm going to research that and print it out.  Bring it to the twp officials.

I guess I am spoilt . I do what I want how I want with my land with no involvement from the local gov.

I wish I was in the same boat.  I live 20 mins outside of Philadelphia.  There are millions of people around here, and they love stinking their nose in everyones business.  On the flip side.  It's a great market for lumber sales. 
60" Lucas Dedicated Slabber, TimberKing 2200 , 5 ton Nissan forklift, John Deere FEL

Offline kilgrosh

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In PA, agriculture includes a sawmill and its byproducts, so as long as your land is deemed agriculutre you're okay. Along with taking the route that scsmith took, I would also site some of the surrounding states codes (PA Act 319 and whatever DE's is) if you go before the county board. It would just show that you have fully researched your area plus those surrounding you and that others are resolving the issue in a manner that is benficial to everyone (i.e. you don't have to zone commercial).

OR...

Just move across the Delaware River  ;) :D
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Online sealark37

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I don't understand why we insist on electing government officials who seem to be intent on harassing and destroying any person who engages in productive activities.  I guess that we think they will steal more for us than from us.  Regards, Clark

Offline Delawhere Jack

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OR...

Just move across the Delaware River  ;) :D

NO NO NO NO NO!!!!

I've already got enough competition....... :(


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