www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov - The Secretary taped an appearance on the Comcast Cable CN8 cooking show "Let's Cook with Chef Paul Dillon." The program will air in September, promoting the Jersey Fresh web site, the Jersey Fresh Cooks cookbook and the use of Jersey Fresh products.
County Fairs - Most county fairs saw increased attendance during the 2002 fair season, despite the extreme heat. The Secretary and/or department staff visited all of the events. Some of the fairs featured exhibits by the division of Plant Industry and Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Laboratory. A new display of agricultural history created by County 4-H agents Annette Devitt and Kevin Mitchell was also a hit at all of the fairs
Drought - With the severe heat and lack of rain statewide, DEP Commissioner Campbell re-instituted the statewide car wash and lawn-watering ban. Water consumptive industries were also put on notice to develop emergency water reduction plans. Farmers are encouraged to use water wisely and to follow their water conservation plans. Farmers having crops showing drought damage are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency office to have an assessment of the damage done in the event of an emergency declaration.
Food Service Management Institute - Each summer the Department's Bureau of Child Nutrition offers this training to food service workers and professionals. This year, more than 200 food service workers attended the three-day session at Cook College. The institute offers a wide variety of motivational and informational sessions while providing training in the areas of financial management, personnel management, menu planning, nutrition education, technology, marketing, food safety, hands-on culinary techniques, and kitchen and equipment design. A very popular session is the update regarding federal and state regulatory changes and initiatives.
Recycling of Agriculture Pesticide Containers and Nursery Pots -Three Collection sites have been established for a plastic recycling program. Empty and clean plastic High Density Polyethylene pesticide containers (up to 55 gallons) and nursery pots (both embossed with the recycling #2 or HDPE) will be collected on from 7:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesday September 24th, at the Cumberland County Solid Waste Complex, Deerfield; from 7 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25th, at the Burlington County Resource Recovery Complex, Mansfield; and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday September 26th, at the Sussex County Solid Waste Facility, Lafayette. There is no charge to growers. As an incentive for pesticide license holders to recycle their Ag pesticide containers, the NJDEP's Pesticide Control Program will issue recertification credits of 1 unit of Core credit. For more details on the program, contact Karen Kritz at (609) 984-2506 or email at Karen.Kritz@ag.state.nj.us .
Animals and You - The division of Animal Health has developed these six posters and guidelines to educate the public about the potential for transmission of diseases from humans to animals and back. This is in response to an E. coli-related death of a child after a visit to a Pennsylvania farm market and petting zoo. All of the County Fairs were sent the guidelines and displayed the posters. Farm markets with petting zoos are encouraged to contact the division of Animal Health at (609) 292-3965 for copies of the guidelines and the posters.
Market Tours - The Secretary visited several of the state's farm markets during National Farm Market Week. Many of the state's farm markets serve as links between the urban and rural populations and help build a sense of community. Pat Mullen, the Acting Director of Dairy and Commodity Regulations, and Al Murray, the Director of Markets, visited with New England produce buyers. The visits resulted in increased interest and demand for some "Jersey Fresh" products. The visits also continued the strong relationship building that the department has been working on with the food retailer industry. The Secretary held a very productive meeting with Wal-Mart representatives and explained the "Jersey Fresh" grading and the marketing programs. Though Wal-Mart has no super center stores in New Jersey, it is looking to ensure good sources of quality produce for their stores in the region. The Secretary also visited Chinatown in New York City and met with several distributors and discussed the opportunities for New Jersey Growers to supply this large market.
FARMLAND PRESERVATION - Earlier this month the State Agriculture Development Committee opened confidential offers from landowners seeking to preserve their farms through the SADC's county grants program. The SADC, which had certified development values on 127 farms, received 103 valid offers back from landowners. At its meeting on August 29, the SADC is expected to grant final approval to all 103 farms based on available funding. Those farms approved for preservation by the SADC will be forwarded to the Garden State Preservation Trust for funding approval at their meeting next month. To date the SADC has helped preserve more than 96,000 acres on more than 740 farms.
Working Groups - The Department's issues working groups are putting the finishing touches on their work plans for the next year. The Secretary and Nancy Trivette have been developing a working group on agricultural education that would look at all the programs and opportunities that introduce young people to agriculture. The work group will bring together the efforts of Ag in the Classroom, FFA, 4-H and other agricultural learning experiences.
2003 Agricultural Convention - Department staff are planning for the 2003 Agricultural Convention to be held January 28th and 29th at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Commodity groups and County Boards of Agriculture are to have their delegate nomination forms submitted prior to October 15th. Resolution ideas also are encouraged; drafts should be submitted by October 31st.