NEW JERSEY MUSEUM OF AGRICULTUREWHEREAS, the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture is a not-for-profit educational institution that showcases and communicates the unique role of the Garden State in the growth and development of agriculture and the impact of agriculture’s contributions to society over time; and
WHEREAS, the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, founded in 1984, is a 30,000 square foot facility that serves as the sole public repository for New Jersey’s agricultural heritage; and
WHEREAS, more than two-thirds of the collection of agricultural artifacts maintained by the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture was originally provided by Cook College, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, the mission of the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture is to “communicate the vital relationship of agriculture to food and fiber, science and technology, the environment and everyday life through exhibits and educational programs connecting the past, present and future”; and
WHEREAS, the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture has a vision to be “recognized as a premier destination and educational resource that fosters an appreciation of the dynamic and integral role of agriculture in all facets of life”; and
WHEREAS, the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture has seen a steady increase in the number of school children visiting each year, from 5,277 visitors representing 98 schools in 2002 to 12,155 visitors representing 153 schools in 2005; and
WHEREAS, the expansion of the Museum’s education programs is a worthy goal as it increases the knowledge among our State’s residents about the value of agriculture in maintaining a high quality of life in New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, like many public institutions, lack of funding remains a constant struggle, as well as a hindrance to the ability of the museum to adequately convey its important message to the public; therefore, support from New Jersey’s agricultural industry, both financial and other, is needed to keep New Jersey’s agricultural story alive; and
WHEREAS, over the years, the museum has experienced a drastic decrease in state funding from $300,000 to $90,000 which has forced the museum to rely on their cash reserves to continue to meet basic operating expenses; and
WHEREAS, cash reserves have depleted to the point that the museum has only enough financial resources to remain in operation for another 90 days.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 92nd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 14, 2007, call on all New Jersey agricultural organizations to recognize the museum’s financial plight, and renew their appreciation and financial support for the museum.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (formerly Cook College), the Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, to work cooperatively to implement the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture’s 2007 Action Plan, as attached to this resolution.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon the Governor, and the State Legislature to immediately address this dire situation by identifying a stable funding source for Museum operations, capable of providing the museum with sufficient financial resources to cover both the operational costs and promotional costs to ensure the public is aware that this invaluable institution exists.