Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – New and beginning farmers will have an opportunity to participate in the New Jersey Department of Agriculture 2007 Deer Fencing program, a cost-share program that provides fencing material and up to 30 percent of the line posts to qualified farmers.
The program, run cooperatively by the Department and Rutgers Cooperative Extension, has expanded eligibility to new and emerging operations that could benefit from the exclusionary fencing. The new/beginning farmer category is only eligible to farms established from 2000 through the present day which meet an economic threshold.
“The fencing program has successfully assisted participating farmers in minimizing deer damage to crops over the past two years,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “This year, we hope to help newer farmers trying to establish their crops as well as long-time farmers keep deer and other animals out of their fields so they can benefit from higher yields and ensure the viability of New Jersey’s farms.”
This is the third year of the Department’s deer fencing program. In the first two years, fence, accompanying wire and posts were distributed to 150 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 or 2006 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, or
- 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, or
- Must be a New/Beginning farmer actively engaged in production of agricultural commodities on a New Jersey farm that was established from 2000 through the present day and have documented proof of a minimum of $5,000 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 New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) and Rutgers Cooperative 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 are available to farmers through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Districts and Rutgers Extension offices. Farmers also may call (609) 292-5532 for more information or go to the NJDA website deer fencing page at www.nj.gov/agriculture/grants/deer.html.