|(TRENTON) – With the onset of the East Coast’s hurricane season,
the New Jersey Department of Agriculture
reminds farmers that they can contact the
Department with questions or concerns regarding
flooding or other weather-related problems
on their farms.
“This time of year can present many challenges to farmers from heavy thunderstorms
and the remnants of hurricanes and tropical storms making their way up the coast,” said
Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “Last year, we saw two major
incidents of flooding – one in the Burlington-Camden County area and the
other in the state’s Northwestern counties – in which farmers were
impacted by heavy rains and wind. We are prepared to respond to any similar incidents
After contacting local emergency personnel for immediate help, any
farmer seeking information on help with weather-related problems can
call the Department at (609) 292-5531. If leaving a message during
non-business hours, please include a full telephone number with area
code and a brief but detailed description of the problem.
Also, the Department reminds farmers of the following numbers to call
for specific issues resulting from flooding.
Property Damage – The Emergency Conservation
Program Fund is a 75-percent cost-share that can be used for debris
removal and for restoring permanent fencing, terraces, diversions,
irrigation systems and other conservation installations that are damaged
as part of a natural disaster. It is administered by the Farm Service
Agency, which can be reached at (609) 298-3446 in New Jersey.
Dams – Farmers are eligible for Department
of Environmental Protection Dam Repair loans at 2 percent interest.
No permits are required for the repair of any dam used for agricultural
purposes within the Pinelands special agricultural production areas.
Farm dams elsewhere in the Pinelands may also be exempt from DEP permitting
requirements. Please call the DEP Dam Safety Loan Program office at
(609) 984-0859 to determine whether a specific dam repair does or does
not require a permit. Any dam repair work designed and installed by
the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) does not require
a DEP permit if the contributing drainage area to the dam is less than
one square mile.
Livestock Issues – Because of standing
water, increased mosquito populations and the subsequent possibility
of an increase in West Nile Virus infection rates are a concern. Typically,
it takes 10 days after a storm for a mosquito “bloom.” Increased
mitigation efforts now will help reduce that risk. Keep horses and
other livestock away from areas where mosquitoes will breed. Also,
make sure animals are properly vaccinated now. Double-check all feed
for possible contamination. For more information, call the NJDA’s
Division of Animal Health at (609) 292-3965.
Crop Insurance – Growers with crop insurance
must provide written notice to their crop insurance agent within 72
hours of discovery of damage or loss. Growers with questions can call
the Garden State Crop Insurance Education Initiative at 1-800-308-2449.
A “Disaster Handbook” compiled by the Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida offers much
helpful information for recovering from a weather event. It can be
accessed on-line at http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu/. It is
also available through all county offices of the Rutgers Cooperative