Hurricane Relief Efforts -- The collection and delivery of apples to Hurricane Katrina survivors through Second Harvest will take place Saturday, October 1. Robson’s Farm and Greenhouse in Wrightstown, Burlington County, has volunteered the use of its packing facilities to pack donated apples into 40-pound boxes. FFA chapters are aiding in the collection and trucking of the donated apples and will bring them to Robson’s for the packing. Animal Response: Through the New Jersey Animal Emergency Working Group (NJAEWG), the Division of Animal Health has been coordinating the dissemination of pertinent information; identification of shelter space for displaced animals; tracking of those animals; availability of animal care providers for possible deployment to the affected area; development of animal-fostering forms; and, compilation of a list of people willing to foster animals, if New Jersey is the recipient of animals being brought into the state from the affected area.
Farm Bill 2007 -- Two meetings of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) have been productive in getting the positions of New Jersey and its fellow Northeastern states into the national organization’s agenda for the 2007 Farm Bill. Secretary Kuperus attended the NASDA committee meetings in Chicago on Monday, August 29, where he sought greater emphasis on value-added grants and specialty crops grants, as well as a shift in the definition of what constitutes a “rural” area to include more areas of high agricultural activity near large population centers. That was followed by the annual NASDA meeting, from Sept. 16-21 in Cooperstown, N.Y., where all of the policy recommendations New Jersey put forth were adopted as part of the organization’s national policy stance. In addition, a majority of those offered by the Northeastern Association of State Departments of Agriculture were adopted as well.
Seafood Report -- On September 9, a report detailing the importance of the seafood and aquaculture industries to New Jersey and New Jersey agriculture was released. New Jersey Fishing and Aquaculture: Harvesting the Garden State’s Water explains the historical impact of the industries on the state and how they fit into its future. The report can be viewed at www.jerseyseafood.nj.gov/seafoodreport.pdf.
Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program -- Secretary Kuperus visited with second-graders at the Frankford Township School in Branchville on Friday, September 23, as they sampled the September vegetable in the state’s Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program. The program is administered through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, supported by funds from the 2004 United States Department of Agriculture Team Nutrition Grant. The program’s goal is to expose children to new, healthier foods and increase their fruit and vegetable consumption. The Secretary also helped harvest fall fruits and vegetables from the school’s garden.
Equine Rules -- The SADC discussed two revised rule proposals: “Eligibility of equine activities for right to farm protections” and “Equine Agricultural Management Practice.” The SADC originally proposed these rules in July 2004 and has revised them based upon comments it received during the public comment period. The first rule would expand right-to-farm protections to equine service activities, such as training, boarding and riding lessons. Currently, the only equine activities that are entitled to protections are production activities, such as breeding. The revisions to the original rule include criteria that equine operations would have to meet to receive the protections. The revisions also clarify the types of income from equine activities that can be used to meet the production requirements set forth in the Right to Farm Act. The agricultural management practice (AMP) contains the standards with which farms will have to be in compliance to receive right-to-farm protections.
Process Review Committee Recommendations -- The SADC discussed draft recommendations proposed by the SADC Process Review Committee, which was charged with recommending changes to streamline and simplify the farmland preservation program. The SADC agreed to forward the recommendations to interested parties for the purpose of soliciting comments before it embarks on any necessary rule changes.
CREP Event -- Secretary Kuperus spoke at a September 2 event recognizing a Salem County dairy and grain farm, which installed a 3,400-foot-long grass waterway to reduce soil erosion. The project was the first conservation practice installed under the New Jersey Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) – a federal-state partnership that provides financial incentives to farmers to establish and maintain conservation practices that protect water quality. Don Emel, a third-generation farmer, installed a grass waterway on his Mannington Township farm after losing more than five acres of topsoil due to erosion. Grass waterways are designed to convey runoff from fields without causing erosion.
Marketing Report -- COMARCO Visit: Secretary Kuperus visited the COMARCO Products plant in Camden on Sept. 1 to see an operation in which South Jersey farmers and food processors make prepared eggplant dishes for various trades. COMARCO employs 40 full-time employees, 80 percent of them Camden residents, and processes up to 6.5 million pounds of eggplant and 6 million pounds of peppers, squash and zucchini per year, much of which comes from New Jersey farms. New Advertisements: The final Jersey Fresh radio spots of the 2005 season are set to air the first week in October. They will highlight apples, sweet potatoes and winter squash. A public service announcement is being developed for December to highlight the Christmas tree industry. Agri-Tourism: Secretary Kuperus will kick off the state’s Agri-Tourism season with a harvest tour at Joseph J. White Cranberry Farm in Burlington County. The tours are a new agri-tourism venture, highlighting farmers’ continuing expansion from traditional farming to agri-tourism. Atlantic City Farmers Market: Secretary Kuperus was joined by Assemblyman Francis Blee during a September 1 visit to the Atlantic City Farmers Market, which has been operating for five years. It features three farmers and two craft vendors. The market is held in a park on Atlantic Avenue. The visit was part of the Secretary’s ongoing tour of community farmers markets around the state.
Asian Longhorned Beetle -- Carteret/Woodbridge/Rahway/Linden - As a result of new finds of an adult Asian longhorned beetle and signs of egg deposits in August 2005, the quarantine area was increased to 16.5 square miles on September 8 with the adoption of emergency amendments and concurrent proposed amendments. A total of 10,658 host trees have been removed in the takedown zones; 518 of these were confirmed as infested. USDA APHIS PPQ contracted with The Davey Tree Expert Company to examine the trees in the residential section of the newly expanded area; no additional infested trees have been found.