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WHEREAS, New Jersey farmers and fishermen face many issues – including increased costs for labor, fuel, energy and other inputs – that negatively impact their industries’ net income potential; and

WHEREAS, dwindling profitability is a reality for many sectors of the seafood and agricultural industries, making it less appealing for individuals to start or continue agricultural or seafood businesses, and discouraging people interested in exploring careers in these industries from investing in the land and assets associated with them; and

WHEREAS, development pressure to consume undeveloped agricultural land has not only resulted in the loss of the agricultural land and assets, but contributes to overcrowding and strain on existing municipal resources; and

WHEREAS, the steady decline in ag-related industries, and the loss of land and assets associated with them, has a proven negative impact on the quality of life for all New Jersey residents; and

WHEREAS, the future of New Jersey’s agricultural industry relies not only on its current members but also in the recruitment of new and young farmers into the industry; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has prepared an Agricultural Development Initiative to bolster the economic prospects for agricultural producers in all sectors, which includes eight recommendations to assist in agriculture viability and growth.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 92nd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 13, 2007, support the Agricultural Development Initiative presented by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as set forth in the attached document and respectfully urge the Governor and Legislature to work with the Department to further implement the components of that Initiative.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Governor and State Legislature to provide funding for educational and incentive programs designed to encourage potential future farmers or farm industry entrepreneurs to join the industry.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Department to work toward these goals in cooperation with partners such as Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension, the USDA, New Jersey Farm Bureau, other State agencies, leading agricultural organizations and commodity groups to build an agricultural development initiative acceptable to all.