Asian Longhorned Beetle – Work has begun to remove 50 mature trees infested with the Asian longhorned beetle and surrounding high-risk host trees in the area of Linden between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Arthur Kill. It is believed this area has served as a jumping-off point for the beetle to infest other trees in Union County. Due to the discovery of the 50 infested trees in that area and a single infested tree in western Linden, the quarantine zone is being expanded to encompass almost 25 square miles in Carteret, Rahway, Woodbridge, Linden and the new towns of Roselle, Elizabeth and Clark. Thus far, 528 infested trees and 16,652 high-risk host trees have been removed in the existing quarantine area. For more information on Asian longhorned beetle, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/asianlonghornbeetle.html.
Gypsy Moth – The 2006 Gypsy Moth Suppression Program took place the first three weeks of May with aerial spraying of forested residential areas in 19 municipalities in Atlantic, Burlington, Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, Sussex and Warren Counties. A total of more than 26,000 acres were treated.
Animal Waste Rule – On May 1, the Department distributed the revised Animal Waste Management rules to solicit comments before moving toward a formal rule proposal. Comments will be accepted through June 30. The revised rules incorporate feedback received on the first draft of the rules from September of 2004. To view the proposal and frequently asked questions, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/anr/agriassist/animalwaste.html.
Hunger Initiative – On National Hunger Awareness Day, June 6, Governor Corzine and Secretary Kuperus will make two stops to commemorate the hunger problem in New Jersey. They will help sort collected food at Mercer Street Friends in Ewing and then attend a non-denominational convocation for the hungry at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside. The Governor is awaiting action in the legislature on a $4 million hunger initiative that will purchase additional food, streamline the distribution process and upgrade facilities throughout the state.
Garden State Preservation Trust -- The Garden State Preservation Trust (GSPT) on May 16 approved the State Agriculture Development Committee’s funding request for $116.7 million for farmland preservation projects across the state. The approved funding covers a number of programs in which the SADC and county and local governments purchase the development easements on farmland or purchase farmland outright for preservation purposes. The request includes: $48.5 million in grants to counties to fund the majority of costs to purchase development rights on farms, plus $600,000 to provide up to $30,000 individual grants to counties to help them develop comprehensive farmland preservation plans; $22.6 million in grants to municipalities and counties to preserve farmland in project areas they have identified under the planning incentive grant program; $30 million for the SADC to purchase development easements or farmland directly from landowners; and $15 million in supplemental funding for farmland preservation in the Highlands region, to be distributed among all programs to support additional applications in cases where demand has outstripped otherwise-approved funding. The request will be forwarded to the Legislature for appropriation.
Budget Hearing – Secretary Kuperus testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on May 17 to present the Departments Fiscal 2007 budget plan. The Secretary explained that the Department is a lean agency with many accomplishments and is committed to a high performance level.
FFA Convention -- More than 325 FFA members and advisors are gathering in New Brunswick this week for the 77th Annual New Jersey FFA Convention, being held May 23-25. During the convention, students will participate in career development events, motivational workshops, and will be recognized for their achievements throughout the year.
Envirothon – A record 43 teams, 215 students from 17 counties participated in the 13th Annual New Jersey Envirothon in Manalapan on May 13. A team from High Tech High School in North Bergen, Hudson County, won the competition for the second year in a row and will be going to the Canon Envirothon to be held July 23-29 at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Members of the winning team won $1,000 college scholarships and additional scholarships to Richard Stockton State College or Montclair State College, should they attend those schools. High Tech High School’s winning Envirothon team as well as the three national winners from New Jersey of the Conservation Poster Contest will be honored Thursday, May 25 with Legislative resolutions and awards during the Conservation Education Awards Ceremony.
Horse Racing Hearing – Secretary Kuperus on Thursday, May 11was a featured speaker at a special hearing before the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee on the future of the horse racing industry in New Jersey. The Secretary explained that to remain competitive and ensure the retention of New Jersey’s agricultural working landscape and a significant sector of our agricultural industry that is associated with equine, the racing industry must bolster its attendance and handle.
Market Report – New Ad Campaign: Fifteen-second television advertisements have been running during May featuring asparagus, spinach, romaine, and azaleas. In addition, print advertisements in trade magazines and New Jersey monthly have run. Ads featuring seasonal produce, horticultural and seafood products will continue running through the summer and fall.
Retailer Visits: In May, Secretary Kuperus and Division of Marketing and Development staff members visited major retailers to encourage them to purchase and sell Jersey Fresh products as they become available. During the meetings, the new Jersey Fresh, As Fresh As Fresh Gets and “Born to …” campaign was discussed, as well as the importance of displaying the Jersey Fresh point of purchase materials within the stores’ produce departments. Staff members have begun distributing the Jersey Fresh point of purchase materials to the individual store locations. Some retailers are already using the Jersey Fresh logo in their weekly circulars.
FMI Show: New Jersey food producers and marketers were well represented at the Food Marketing Institute show in Chicago. The four-day event, which was held May 7-10, is known as the “Super Bowl of Food Shows,” encompassing five simultaneous shows in the massive McCormick Place convention center. Seven food processing companies, ranging from seafood to food-based healthcare products, had booths at the Department’s New Jersey Pavilion as part of the U.S. Food Export Showcase (USFES). Among those reporting favorable response was the Certified Clam Co. of Highlands, which made promising export contacts with representatives from Portugal, Panama, Turkey, Finland and Iceland.
Community Farmers Markets: The 2006 season will feature 75 Community Farmers Markets around the state. Many markets will open in June while some open the week of July 4th.
Planting Tour: Secretary Kuperus, along with Assemblymen Douglas Fisher and Nelson Albano, visited family farms during stops on a day-long Jersey Fresh planting tour on May 1 through Atlantic, Cumberland and Gloucester Counties. The tour highlighted the deep roots of New Jersey’s family farms and the diversity of the crops they produce. Stops included Donio, Martino, Tom Pantano, Laning Brothers and Banscher Farms.
Weekly Jersey Fresh Report: The weekly produce update and forecast resumed on April 10th to 230 produce buyers, growers, chefs, restaurant owners, and members of the media.