Solar Rule -- The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) approved a proposed new rule that would establish an agricultural management practice (AMP) for the purpose of providing right-to-farm protection to the on-farm generation of solar energy in accordance with P.L. 2009, c. 213, enacted earlier this year. The new proposed rule will be published in the New Jersey Register for public comment. In accordance with the law, the SADC next will draft an AMP for wind energy generation, followed by rules for solar and wind energy generation on preserved farms. The rules are being developed with input from agriculture and industry representatives, as well as other state agencies involved in implementing the law.
Outstanding Young Farmer – The Department announced the 2011 Outstanding Young Farmer – fruit and vegetable farmer 39-year-old John Melick of Oldwick, Hunterdon County. Melick was nominated by his county board of agriculture and will receive his award at the 2011 New Jersey State Agricultural Convention in February. Melick is also in the running for National Outstanding Young Farner. In addition, the Department is seeking nominations for 2012 OYF.
2011 Agricultural Fair Ambassador Crowned -- Samantha Mason, an 18-year-old Cumberland County College student, will serve as the 2011 New Jersey Agricultural Fair Ambassador. Mason was selected by the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey at the group’s annual meeting on Sunday, November 7 in Eastampton. As ambassador, Mason, of Vineland, is charged with visiting the state’s agricultural fairs in 2011, discussing the fairs, promoting agritourism to the public and bringing people together to support the state’s agriculture industry. Mason is the fourth-generation in farming in her family, who grow a variety of vegetables on their farm, including yellow squash, eggplant, Italian eggplant, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, pickles, collard greens, kale, parsley, dill, arugula, and cilantro.
National FFA Convention – The convention was held October 20-23 in Indianapolis with 12 New Jersey FFA Chapters with 115 members, teachers and staff in attendance. Nancy Trivette, State Agricultural Education Program Leader, received the National FFA VIP Award, the highest honor bestowed by National FFA. Secretary Fisher, Bonnie Baldasare, a Union County Vocational School agriculture teacher, Dr. Thomas Bistocchi, Superintendent of the Union County Vocational School District, and John Morrow, a retired agriculture teacher were Honorary FFA Degree recipients.
Promote New Jersey Agriculture License Plate Web Page – The Department has developed a new web page encouraging drivers to promote agriculture by purchasing a special license plate to call attention to the Garden State's vibrant agriculture industry. The plate was developed in 2001 as a result of the efforts of New Jersey Farm Bureau and a bill sponsored by Senators Robert Singer and Martha Bark and Assemblymen Christopher "Kip" Bateman and Peter Biondi. For more information, visit www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/md/prog/aglicenseplate.html.
Asian Longhorned Beetle – Surveys are being conducted in Hudson County to confirm the 2008 eradication of Asian longhorned beetle in Jersey City. The survey is being done at this time because any unseen infestation in the past would be visible now due to population dynamics of the tree-killing insect. In addition, 21 sites in eight counties in central and north Jersey were surveyed with all 253 trees inspected showing no evidence of infestation.
Agricultural Achievement Award – Current high school seniors interested in careers in agriculture or science may apply for a $500 scholarship sponsored by Amy Butewicz, a former New Jersey Equestrian of the Year who wants to give back to the community. Contestants must be current, active members of an organization either on the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board and/or represented at the Youth Reception portion of the annual New Jersey State Agricultural Convention. Each organization on the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board and a participant of the State Agricultural Convention may nominate a maximum of two contestants. Each contestant must submit a resume and an essay to the Department on the topic, “How has your involvement within your respective nominating organization helped to shape your future career choice?” The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2010.
Equine Scholarship offered -- The New Jersey Equine Advisory Board announced a $1,000 scholarship to help 4-H or FFA members pursue their equine activities. The Sara Dubinin Scholarship, in memory of Sara Dubinin, who loved horses, will be presented at the New Jersey Bred Equine Breeder Awards Dinner on January 30, 2011. Sara, a Sayreville resident, graduated from Cardinal McCarrick High School in South Amboy in 2006. The 19-year-old was attending Middlesex County College when she succumbed to injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident in September of 2007. Those 4-H or FFA members interested in receiving the scholarship must submit an essay on, “How horses have affected my life and how horses figure into my future.” Consideration of applications will be weighted upon the candidate’s financial need. The deadline to submit the essay is January 12th, 2011.
Animal Health Laboratory – A memo was sent to Veterinarians in the state concerning the Division of Animal Health’s pathology services and its ability to accept all species of domestic and wild animals for necropsy post-mortem examinations. The Animal Health lab is the only veterinary diagnostic lab in the state providing these types of services. Animal owners interested in having necropsy done on their deceased animals should contact their veterinarians to submit the animal to the lab. Veterinarians may contact the lab for additional information on necropsy services.
Farm to School Forum – The Jersey Fresh Supply Chain Forum will be held on February 26, 2011 at Rutgers EcoComplex to assist school administrators, food service professionals, produce distributors and farmers in the sourcing of Jersey Fresh produce for use in school meals programs. The conference, a collaborative effort of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, Fair Food, and the New Jersey Farm to School Network, will present solutions regarding local procurement in school feeding programs and potential Jersey Fresh sales opportunities.
Upcoming Department Events:
January 30, 2011 – The annual New Jersey Bred Equine Breeder Awards Luncheon will be held at Charley’s Other Brother in Eastampton. The Horseperson of the Year will be announced during the proceedings.
February 8 and 9, 2011 -- The annual State Agricultural Convention will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.
March 26, 2011 – The New Jersey Junior Breeder Symposium will be held on the Cook Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Hands on sessions for all species are schedule.