Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus today announced
that the N.J. Department of Agriculture has awarded
a $35,000 grant to help fund a program that assists
New Jersey dairy farmers in improving milk quality
and farm management practices, thereby enabling them
to earn greater economic returns.
He also announced a $10,000 matching grant to the
Sussex County Co-Operative Milk Producers Association
to help fund a feasibility study and develop a business
plan for producing milk marketed under the Jersey
Fresh label, as well as other Jersey Fresh-labeled
"We are committed to maintaining a viable dairy
industry in the state as an important part of our
overall efforts to retain our farms and strengthen
our agricultural industry," said Secretary Kuperus. "These
grants will help our dairy farmers protect the health
of their herds, improve milk quality, operate more
efficiently and expand the marketplace for their products,
all of which will enable them to be more prosperous
in a competitive economic market."
The $35,000 grant to New Jersey Farm Bureau will
help fund the Dairy Improvement Program, which is
administered by the Salem County Cooperative Extension
in cooperation with New Jersey Farm Bureau and the
N.J. Department of Agriculture.
The program assists farmers in undertaking management
practices to reduce somatic cell counts in raw milk.
High somatic cell counts are an indicator of bacterial
infections in cows, which result in production losses.
The organisms that cause infections can be transmitted
infectiously - from cow to cow - or environmentally,
for example, on a milker's hands.
Milk from farms participating in the program is
tested on a weekly basis to determine somatic cell
counts. Producers earn financial bonuses on milk with
low somatic cell counts.
The program also provides assistance in crop and
financial management practices that can help dairy
farmers be more profitable.
The $10,000 grant to the Sussex County Co-operative
Milk Producers Association was awarded under the Jersey
Fresh Matching Grant Program. This program awards
matching funds for market development programs and
for promotion of New Jersey-produced agricultural
New Jersey has 140 dairy farms. The state's milk production
in 2001 totaled 233 million pounds.