Agricultural Convention – Preparations are being made for the 2007 New Jersey Agricultural Convention that will be held February 13-14 at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Themes that will be covered include food safety and continued work on the economic development initiatives.
NY Jets Nutrition Program – Governor Corzine will join Secretary Kuperus and Jets President Jay Cross and offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson at Columbus Elementary School in Lodi on Tuesday, November 21 to announce the Eat Right, Move More campaign that will honor the top five schools in the state for their work on improving school nutrition. Each of those schools will receive a visit from a Jets player and one of the five will be selected at random to be honored on the field during the December 10th Jets home game. Schools have until September 2007 to fully implement the state’s model nutrition policy, which limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fund-raisers.
Web Site Award -- The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) was honored November 3 with the Best Official State Web Site of the Year Award by the Documents Association of New Jersey. The group selected the Department’s website, www.nj.gov/agriculture, for the award, which recognizes the department web site that documents librarians feel is especially useful or informative. The NJDA web site received several nominations among librarians, who deemed it “excellent.” The newly redesigned NJDA web site debuted earlier this year, with a goal of being user friendly and easy to navigate, as well as providing useful information for consumers, students, and those in the agricultural industry. The New Jersey Office of Information Technology produced the web site for the Department with Lynne Richmond, web master and Public Information Officer and the input of many Department personnel.
NJ FFA Member Gains National Recognition -- Dale Cruzan III of Bridgeton was named the national winner for Agricultural Sales Placement Proficiency October 27 during the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Cruzan was among only 51 National Proficiency winners chosen in 2006. There are 50 proficiency categories. The FFA Agricultural Proficiency Award Program rewards members at the local, state and national levels for exceptional accomplishments and excellence in a Supervised Agricultural Experience program, where a student designs a program to gain hands-on experience and develop skills in agricultural career areas that interest them. After being selected as New Jersey’s winner in Agricultural Sales – Placement, Cruzan was chosen as one of the top four national finalists for his category. As part of his recognition, Dale received a cash award of $500 and will participate in a 10-day educational travel seminar in Costa Rica this June. Cruzan, 19, is a member of the Cumberland Regional FFA Chapter and currently is a sophomore at Cook College, Rutgers University, in New Brunswick where he is majoring in Plant Science with a concentration in horticulture and turf. Dale is past-president of the New Jersey FFA.
Aquaculture Census – The recently released United States Department of Agriculture Census of Aquaculture showed that New Jersey has a diverse, evolving aquaculture industry. The census showed that the number of aquaculture farms in New Jersey tripled over a 7-year period. The 1998 census showed that there were 28 aquaculture farms in the Garden State, while there were 87 farms in 2005. The increase is attributable, in part, to better identification of producers. The census, conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, showed that New Jersey aquaculture grows everything from clams, oysters and four varieties of food fish to ornamental fish, such as koi, goldfish, tropicals and baitfish.
Market Report – 2007 Advertising Campaign: As the 2006 growing season draws to a close, Department staff has begun working with the Department’s advertising agency to develop the 2007 Jersey Fresh advertising and promotional program. In addition to the proposed cable television and print advertising, last year’s bus advertising will be expanded to include more than 10 buses throughout the state. In 2006, three New Jersey Transit buses displayed the Jersey Fresh banner on routes through Mercer, Middlesex and southern Somerset Counties. CD-roms containing print advertisements, logos and price cards are currently being printed and will be distributed to food retailers throughout the state.
Jersey Grown: Letters were sent to the 28 Jersey Grown members informing them of the availability of Jersey Grown tags to be placed on Christmas trees for the upcoming season.
Jersey Fresh Forecast and Availability Report: The final report was sent out on November 13 as fall weather settles in and frost is expected. The reports will resume in April.
Branded Clams -- Baymen’s Pride clams are now being sold in a number of supermarkets in New Jersey. The product was developed as part of a value-added grant received from USDA. It is the first product being marketed under the Jersey Seafood brand, which requires the product to be locally produced consistent with a set of quality standards. It is hoped that the local production venue and the hand-raised aspects of the product will help to drive consumer demand.
Conservation Conference -- The Annual Conservation Conference for the New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts and the NJDA State Soil Conservation Committee was held on November 2-3 at the Crystal Springs Hotel in Vernon. Secretary Kuperus and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Assistant Commissioner Cradic provided keynote remarks challenging the leaders to fortify public accountability, seek opportunities to enhance the conservation of natural resources and to partner with others to get the job done. A Conservation Education Strategic Plan was conceptually adopted that will involve into the establishment of a Conservation Education Council to recommend actions to incorporate conservation education into the basic core curriculum standards.