Gypsy Moth – Spraying for gypsy moth is scheduled to begin May 11 in Morris County. Two municipalities and two county parks with 288 acres will participate. A new interactive map has been posted on the gypsy moth web page at www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/gypsymoth.html showing the spray blocks for the 2015 suppression program and giving information about each spray block.
Jersey Fresh Availability and Forecast Report – The first report of the season was prepared on Monday, April 20, highlighting the produce now available – dandelions, leeks and spinach – and giving the forecast for upcoming produce. The report is available online at http://jerseyfresh.nj.gov/find/JFAvailReport.pdf.
Specialty Crop Block Grants -- The Department is now accepting applications for 2016 United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grants. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture, nursery crops and floriculture. Most of New Jersey agriculture falls into the specialty crop category. To be eligible for a grant, projects must "enhance the competitiveness" of specialty crops and might include, but are not limited to: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, "buy local" programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development and developing cooperatives. Download the application at www.nj.gov/agriculture/grants/specialtycropblockgrants.html. The deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2015.
State Food Purchase Program – Fourth-quarter State Food Purchase Program checks were distributed to the six emergency feeding operations around the state this week, totaling $1.6 million. For fiscal year 2015, $6.8 million were distributed for the purchase of healthy food for those in need.
School Breakfast – Secretary Fisher joined Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno on April 16 at Lafayette Elementary School in Bound Brook to announce the Department’s awarding of School Breakfast Grants to schools to improve upon or start a school breakfast program. Lafayette School received a $10,000 grant. The Lt. Governor also applauded the state’s 12.9 percent highest in the nation increase in school breakfast participation last school year, moving the state up to 28th in the nation.
Eat Right, Move More Program – The first of the spring visits to the first-place winners was held on April 17 at Hoboken Dual Language Charter School in Hoboken. The NJDA and NY Jets awarded the school a $5,000 prize to be used for school meal improvements and physical education equipment. The children were treated to a program from Jets tight end Zach Sudfeld. Visits are scheduled for the remaining first-place schools for April 24 and May 29.
Year-Round Farm to School -- Secretary Fisher joined Sodexo, Long Branch School District and New Jersey Farm to School Network officials on April 20, 2015 to announce a partnership with Edible Gardens of Belvidere, NJ and PFG- Metro NY to bring Jersey Fresh butterhead lettuce and other vegetables to 70 school districts in NJ year-round. The officials visited Catrambone School in Long Branch where the lettuce was being used on the salad bar, as part of a grilled chicken salad and to put on cheeseburgers. Sodexo hopes to expand to more types of vegetables that can be used in the school meals programs in the future.
Avian Influenza – The State Veterinarian is monitoring an outbreak of Avian Influenza centered in Minnesota and spreading to other states. The source is thought to be through the feces of waterfowl.
Jr. Breeders Livestock Symposium -- About 225 adults and children attended an educational symposium Saturday, March 28 at Rutgers University’s Cook Campus, former NJ Agriculture Museum Building in New Brunswick to learn about a wide variety of valuable and interesting agricultural topics with opportunities for hands-on experiences. The New Jersey Junior Breeder’s Livestock Symposium featured sessions on equine show grooming and showmanship, dairy and swine breeding, animal health, poultry housing and rules, nutrition, and a 4-H Avian Bowl practice. The annual Dairy Clip-off and Equine Nutrition Jeopardy took place. The New Jersey Junior Breeders Livestock Symposium is sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA), New Jersey Junior Breeder Program, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Department of 4-H Youth Development. It also is sponsored in part by Farm Credit/Northeast AgEnhancement and Hart Agency - Farm Family Insurance.
Pesticide Container Recycling Program Gearing Up For the Season -- The Pesticide Container Recycling Program started the 2015 Season with recycling in Hammonton Township on April 9 and in Woodstown on April 10. The Deerfield recycling date is May 15. Cream Ridge opens in April at the convenience of those recycling. The Mount Holly location is open year round. The program diverts tons and tons of plastics from state landfills and saves agricultural producers tipping fees.
Meet New Jersey’s Farmers Videos – The Department has produced two more videos highlighting New Jersey’s farmers – Hlubik Farms in Chesterfield and Cedarvale Winery in Logan Township. To view the videos, visit http://jerseyfresh.nj.gov/home/farmers/approved/farmers_archive.html.
Summer Food Service Program -- Successful outreach efforts by the State Food Service Program (SFSP) team resulted in 22 new potential sponsors attending training and obtaining program application packages. This represents a 22 percent increase in expected sponsor program participation. Secretary Fisher recorded two SFSP public service announcements, to be distributed to radio stations throughout the state. And, efforts are underway to encourage a “Farm to Summer” program, where local produce is used in SFSP meals.
Spring Career Development Events -- More than 300 Agricultural Education students from 28 different chapters participated in Spring Career Development Events (CDE) on April 16 at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. These events served as an extension of the classroom and tested students' competency in various areas of agriculture. Events included Agricultural Sales, Agricultural Technology & Mechanical Systems, Environmental & Natural Resources, Floriculture, Nursery/Landscape and Veterinary Science.
Plant Pest Surveys – The Department will conduct a Mixed Berry survey in 2015, paid for with Farm Bill funds. This survey will target the following plant pests: Blueberry Shock Virus, Summer Fruit Tortrix Moth, Light Brown Apple Moth, European Grape Vine Moth, and the Winter Moth. The survey will be conducted at 30 locations in Southern New Jersey including 10 cranberry bogs, 10 blueberry farms and 10 additional farms that grow blackberries, raspberries or strawberries. The survey will begin in June and will run until the end of August. The winter moth survey will be conducted in November-December. In addition, the Department will participate in a nationwide survey of blueberry viruses, again with Farm Bill funding. This summer leaf tissue samples from blueberry farms in New Jersey will be collected and sent to Oregon to be tested for a panel of plant viruses. The survey should determine which blueberry viruses are widely prevalent in certain regions of the United States. This in turn will help to prevent spread of viruses within the US by allowing states to target the correct viruses when they inspect and survey.