Ornamental horticulture, including greenhouse, sod, nursery and floriculture operations, is New Jersey’s leading agricultural sector, representing almost 40 percent of the state’s agricultural production with $367.9 million in cash receipts. In 2005 New Jersey had 18 million square feet of greenhouse. New Jersey’s horticultural products offer esthetic value, providing shade and a cooling effect and re-charge the air with oxygen.
To increase demand for New Jersey nursery stock, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is continuing to expand its marketing program to include more horticultural crops and is working to develop standards for greenhouse produced products.
Since 2004 the television advertising of New Jersey horticultural products has greatly expanded through the Department of Agriculture’s marketing program. The year 2006 saw the expansion of the Jersey Grown quality-grading program to include the promotion of Christmas Trees. The upgraded retail nursery and garden center listing on the Jersey Grown website features an interactive search feature to assist consumers to locate garden centers and nurseries by county, town, business name or product.
The department continues to work with New Jersey’s horticultural producers to produce our state’s high quality of horticultural products. The Department will continue to inspect and certify nurseries, enabling growers to sell certified disease-free material in and out of state, and conduct seed certification and seed control testing programs to ensure high quality turf grass seed for New Jersey sod growers.
In 2007, the Department’s ornamental horticulture economic development strategies will be focusing on expanding the promotion of the Jersey Grown brand. The Jersey Grown website will continue to expand, and inspections for harmful pests and certifying seed will be continued.
2. ORNAMENTAL HORTICULTURE STRATEGIES
2.1 Ensure Plant Health
19) STRATEGY– Work to have a comprehensive approach to ensuring plant health. The following methods to be employed include:
1. Continue inspections for harmful pests and disease.
2. Seek ways to increase use of new methods of pest control and beneficial insects
3. Inspect and certify nurseries, enabling growers to sell certified disease-free material in and out of state.
4. Conduct seed certification and seed control testing programs to ensure high quality turf grass seed for New Jersey sod growers.
5. Encourage the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station to continue its research in identifying new varieties of agricultural products resistant to pests, diseases and new plant introductions.
20) STRATEGY- Support legislation establishing a drought emergency protocol for implementation of predictable, effective and sound restrictions for future emergencies. Work with the Nursery and Landscape Industry, the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection, and the Department’s Agricultural Water Working Group prior to future drought emergencies.
2.2 Increase Consumer Awareness
21) STRATEGY - Continue work to strengthen the Jersey Grown brand name to enable the industry to benefit from a common trademark identifying locally produced horticultural products.
1. Work with growers and independent garden centers and nurseries to strengthen their efforts to promote Jersey Grown products with advertising such as point of sale materials.
2. Continue to include horticultural crops in the department’s marketing program and communicate the benefits of buying Jersey Grown products.
3. Maintain the retail nurseries and garden center listings on the Jersey Grown website.
4. Publish the list of certified Jersey Grown growers on the departments Jersey Grown website.
2.3 Improve State and Public Contract Requirements
23) STRATEGY- Continue to work with government agencies including the National Resource Conservation Service, the Department of Transportation through its highway planting program, and the Department of Environmental Protection through its forestry program, to use New Jersey produced products whenever possible and ensure that all products meet the pest-free standards of the New Jersey Nursery Law and satisfy the quality standards set by the Jersey Grown Rule as established by the Department.
2.4 Develop an Industry Recognition Program
24) STRATEGY– Continue to sponsor the New Jersey Grown Community Award program. Open to all municipalities in the Garden State, the purpose of the program is to recognize exemplary plant design and maintenance projects while highlighting New Jersey Grown plants and creating awareness of the ornamental horticulture industry in the state.
2.5 Strengthen Communications with Industry Leaders
25) STRATEGY – Department staff will regularly meet with horticultural and floricultural producers to discuss items of mutual interest and address challenges in their industry.
2.6 Develop Sales Tax Guide
26) STRATEGY – Develop an informational guide to assist the nursery, landscaping service and retail garden centers to understand amendments to the New Jersey Sales and Use Tax Act. Work with the New Jersey Division of Taxation to provide a technical review and endorsement of the guide.