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WHEREAS, in order for agriculture to be successful in New Jersey, it must be economically viable; the diversity of New Jersey’s agricultural products, coupled with the State’s close proximity to major markets, creates a foundation for continued success for New Jersey’s third largest industry; and

WHEREAS, the Department must research and create new strategies to assist farmers in identifying new trends, tapping emerging markets, and offering new products to consumers; and the Department’s economic development strategies, which are part of the Department’s Smart Growth Plan, must support existing sectors as well as encourage emerging sectors of the agricultural industry; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Agriculture, working cooperatively with Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (formerly Cook College) and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) along with New Jersey farmers and consumers, must look ahead for new and emerging markets as well as alternative uses for products already grown in the State.

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, encourage the Department of Agriculture to continue working with industry groups and other representatives to develop and implement economic growth strategies for New Jersey’s agricultural industries.  The Department shall endeavor to create and initiate no less than one hundred strategies for the economic development of the agricultural industry, with particular focus on the Produce, Ornamental Horticulture, Seafood, Dairy, Field and Forage Crops, Livestock, and Poultry, Organic, Equine, Wine and Agricultural Tourism sectors.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recommend that the Department of Agriculture, Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (formerly Cook College), the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, the United States Department of Agriculture, industry groups and producers work to identify and assist in developing new market and value-added opportunities for New Jersey farmers.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage the faculty and administration of NJAES to continue to reach out to academic departments and centers throughout Rutgers in order to bring their expertise to bear on issues of importance to New Jersey.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support participation in the Jersey Fresh, Jersey Grown, Jersey Seafood and all other Department grading and promotion programs to ensure high quality standards and build consumer loyalty to New Jersey products.