For Immediate Release: January 26, 2005
Contact: Jeff Beach
(ATLANTIC CITY) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture
charted a course of strengthening existing markets and branching
out into new ones as the agency’s Economic Development Strategies
for the new year were unveiled today at the 2005 New Jersey
State Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City.
“Our Garden State’s farmers face many challenges, but just as importantly they
recognize the opportunities that exist in our marketplace,” New Jersey Secretary
of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus said. “By expanding our existing markets and
pursuing new ones created by changing demographics, we can ensure a viable future
for the state’s agricultural industry.”
Strategies for 2005 include:
- Helping the recently established Agri-tourism Advisory Council determine the
extent of current agri-tourism activity and identifying greater opportunities
to help farmers supplement their income with such approaches as pick-your-own
operations, festivals and corn mazes. - Expanding pilot projects aimed at finishing
and marketing meat goats to meet a growing demand for the meat among New Jersey’s
ethnic populations. - Working with restaurant associations and sellers and buyers
of seafood to expand interest in the recently established “Jersey Seafood” brand
of fish and shellfish. - Expanding purchases by school districts and government
agencies, such as the New Jersey Department of Corrections, of under-valued and
over-produced New Jersey agricultural products.
NJDA staff members also reviewed a number of initiatives introduced at last year’s
convention and remarked on their progress. Of 100 strategies introduced at last
year’s convention, 52 had been successfully completed and 42 had seen progress
Among those that had moved forward were:
- Working with Rutgers University and the New Jersey Farm Bureau to determine
the needs of national produce distributors and develop ways for New Jersey producers
to complement their existing suppliers. - Helping New Jersey’s milk producers
in implementing business plans - Identifying non-traditional agriculture products
that are in increasing demand among new immigrants, such as daikon radishes and
goat meat, and helping New Jersey farmers to meet those demands.
The convention is the largest annual gathering of the agricultural industry.
More than 100 representatives of county agriculture boards, Pomona granges and
breed and commodity organizations will gather to discuss issues affecting the
agricultural industry and help set agricultural policy for the coming year.
The convention also will feature the election by delegates of two new members
to the State Board of Agriculture, the policy-making body of the New Jersey Department
The 2005 Economic Development Strategies can be accessed at: www.state.nj.us/agriculture/05strategies.htm.