(TRENTON) -- New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus today announced that a Deer Fencing program will be run cooperatively by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) and Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension.
The cost-share program will provide fencing material, plus up to 30 percent of the line posts at no cost to qualified farmers who were not awarded fencing in the 2004/2005 program.
“The deer fencing program is part of our effort to partner with the agricultural community to ensure the viability of New Jersey’s farms,” said Secretary Kuperus. “The fencing is an effective tool in keeping deer from damaging crops and allows farmers to benefit from higher yields.”
This is the second year of the Department’s deer fencing program. In 2005, fence, accompanying wire and posts were distributed to 100 farmers throughout the state.
A Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension survey of farmers who participated in previous deer fencing programs indicated that almost 70 percent of wildlife crop loss is attributable to deer. The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station estimates the economic loss to farmers to be between $5 million and $10 million annually.
To participate in the program, farmers must meet these eligibility criteria:
- Farmers who were awarded fencing and materials in the 2004/2005 program are not eligible to participate
- Must be a New Jersey farmer having documented proof of a minimum of $40,000 in sales of agricultural commodities produced by the applicant on a New Jersey farm
- Must be a New Jersey certified organic farmer having documented proof of a minimum of $20,000 in sales of agricultural commodities produced by the applicant on a New Jersey farm
- Must be the owner of the land or have documented proof of renting preserved farmland or farmland that is enrolled in an Eight-Year Farmland Preservation Program
- Complete a mandatory deer fence installation workshop sponsored by the NJDA and Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension
Farmers who receive fencing and materials will be required to use the material solely for the purpose of keeping deer off their land and are prohibited from using the fence to contain equine, livestock, poultry, or other animals. Any unused fence will have to be returned to NJDA and cannot be sold.
Applications for deer fencing will be available to farmers through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Districts and Rutgers Research and Extension offices. Applications must be postmarked by May 31, 2006. Farmers also may call (609) 292-5532 for more information or go to the NJDA website www.nj.gov/agriculture and click on the Grants, Financial Assistance and Services page.