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September 22, 2004

Asian Longhorned Beetle Program – Public information sessions were held on Thursday, September 16, in both Carteret and Woodbridge, with the aim of enhancing public cooperation with the ALB field surveys. The 1:30 p.m. meeting in Carteret was the borough’s second on the beetle since the infestation was discovered there on August 2. Representatives from the Woodbridge Environmental Committee requested and received additional ALB booklets and pest alerts to be handed out during a street fair in the township. The Woodbridge session was taped for later broadcast by Woodbridge Township Television (WTT) and will run locally on channels 35 and 36 repeatedly over the next several weeks. Field surveys continued this week in Carteret, Linden, and Woodbridge to determine the extent of the infestation. More than 3,800 host trees have been climbed or examined for signs of the beetle. The main core of the infestation, with trees showing exit holes and egg sites, remains about 1 square mile in size with 402 known infested trees. A small number of infested trees have been found within the quarantine zone in an area approximately ½-mile from the core area.

Jersey Grown – The Jersey Grown website debuted at on Wednesday, September 15. The website features helpful and interesting information on the state's horticulture industry, both for consumers and the industry. Visitors are able to search for nurseries, garden centers, gardens and arboretums. They also can access gardening tips and fact sheets. The site was being launched in conjunction with the distribution of point-of-sale materials to nurseries and garden centers in preparation for the fall planting season.

Agri-Tourism – The Secretary kicked off the start of the fall agri-tourism season on September 16 by venturing into a corn maze in the shape of the Garden State at K & S Farms in East Windsor. The Secretary also announced the appointments to the new Agri-Tourism Industry Advisory Council. Seven out of the 10 members were present for the very successful event. The Department will soon schedule the Council’s first meeting. The panel is part of the Department’s economic development strategies and was created in acknowledgement of the agri-tourism sector’s potential for growth in New Jersey. The Council is charged with developing strategies to strengthen and expand the industry.

Healthy Choices, Healthy Kids – The child nutrition and fitness initiative “Healthy Choices, Healthy Kids” will be the subject of a public event on Thursday, September 23, in which the Governor, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Senior Services will address various aspects of the program. Agriculture will address child nutrition in schools, Health and Senior Services will introduce the results of its recent study into the height and weight of fifth- and sixth-graders, and the Governor will unveil a new physical fitness web site. The event will be held at the Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick.

Food Council Award -- New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus today received the Thomas W. Kelly Government Service Award from the New Jersey Food Council at its annual Good Government Breakfast at the Woodbridge Hilton in Iselin. The Thomas W. Kelly Government Service Award recognizes the significant accomplishments of a regulatory leader. The event is an example of the Department’s continued efforts to strengthen the relationship between the food industry and farmers.

Flood Damage – Numerous farms in Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon Counties were affected by rain, floods and wind from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan on Saturday, September 18. Particularly hard-hit was the Great Meadows area of Warren County, where several farmers met with the Secretary on Tuesday to talk about hundreds of acres of crops damaged by flooding. The Department is preparing an informational session for farmers in the area, tentatively set for Wednesday, September 29, where short- and long-term solutions will be discussed.

Crop Insurance -- New Jersey farmers increased the number of acres of crops insured to 160,549 in 2004. This was an 11,183 acre increase over 2003 acres. Liability coverage also increased to $71.2 million in 2004 that compares with $63.3 million in 2003. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Risk Management Agency, USDA are partners in providing a crop insurance education program for producers in the Garden State.

CREP Program -- Farmers and landowners can now enroll in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a federal/state partnership. The goal is to enroll 30,000 acres of highly erodible cropland and marginal pastureland in conservation cover planting. CREP’s benefits include reduced soil erosion, improved water quality, improved wildlife habitats and increased farm income from marginal land.

New Jersey Junior Breeders -- For the first time is almost five years, the Junior Breeder program has 27 livestock loans from ten counties totaling $11,524.80. More and more young people are taking advantage of this program as well as the educational opportunities presented by the annual Livestock Symposium.