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For Immediate Release: June 23, 2005 Contact:

Lynne Richmond

(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus today announced the availability of crop insurance for Garden State farmers for forage production in 2006. The insured forage crop may be either a stand of pure alfalfa, or alfalfa and perennial grasses in which alfalfa comprises more than 25 percent of the ground cover.

Each year, New Jersey farmers produce over 250,000 tons of hay on approximately 120,000 acres of cropland. Alfalfa hay accounts for 30,000 acres and other (mixed) hay, 90,000 acres. The hay produced has a value of more than $30 million annually. This hay provides feed for horses, dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep and goats in New Jersey and nearby states.

Farmers interested in reducing their financial risks from crop failure in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Sussex and Warren Counties (protection is available in other counties by written agreement) should contact a crop insurance agent for information on the different coverage levels available. The enrollment deadline is September 30, 2005 for the 2006 crop year. The Risk Management Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, assists producers with the costs of purchasing crop insurance.

Secretary Kuperus also reminded New Jersey farmers that New Jersey has a new fall-seeded forage program available for 2006. The deadline for farmers to obtain crop insurance on fall-seeded forage acreage is July 31, 2005. The forage seeding policy covers newly seeded acreage of alfalfa and forage mixtures containing at least 50 percent alfalfa, clover, birdsfoot trefoil, or other locally recognized and approved forage legume species that is planted by August 31, 2005.

For a list of crop insurance agents, farmers may call the toll-free crop insurance information line at 800-308-2449, or visit the Garden State Crop Insurance Education Initiative website at http://salem.rutgers.edu/cropinsurance/. This information is provided by the informational partnership between Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension Service, the Risk Management Agency USDA, and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.