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April 27, 2016

Eastern Apicultural Society - The Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) will hold its annual meeting in New Jersey from July 25 – 29, 2016. There will be about 800 beekeepers from the eastern half of the United States and Canada present for the week-long conference. The Apiarist is part of the planning team for this event, whose duties are to select speakers and agenda items for the conference. The Apiarist will also be responsible for the bee colonies brought in for beekeeper training. The conference will be held at Stockton University in Galloway Township, New Jersey.

Apiary Registration - An updated application was developed by the NJDA IT department to improve the Department’s online apiary registration program. This application enables beekeepers to register their apiaries electronically and make it easier for them to re-register annually by providing prefilled forms with their current data. They would only have to update incorrect information or add additional yard information.

2016 New Jersey Flower and Garden Show Exhibit - The Conservation Partnership designed an education exhibit entitled “Happy Earth Day Backyard Conservation Garden Party” for the NJ Flower Show, held February 11-14 at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Edison. The display was awarded first place for “Most Educational” first place for “Best Environmental Focus”, second place for “Most Colorful”, second place for “Most Practical Backyard Design”, third place for “Best Plant Material”, third place for “Most Creative Water Feature” and finally third place as the “People’s Choice Award”.

State FFA Convention Planning - With the State FFA Convention next month, planning is well underway. The Office of Ag Education continues to send electronic mailings for judge’s invitations, as well as many thank you letters for events leading up to the convention. In addition, the state FFA officers participated in their state convention video shoot where they filmed portions of the state convention opening session videos.

Red Knot Consultation Update - The Programmatic Biological Opinion (PBO) for the formal red knot-structural aquaculture consultation was submitted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on April 1, 2016. That transmission serves as the completion date for the document, with all measures contained within becoming effective immediately.

Farmland Assessment - Hatchery/Nursery - NJDA staff conducted a site visit with Department of Taxation staff and a shellfish grower to discuss potential eligibility for Farmland Assessment. The location under review is an active man-made marina, a portion of which is currently being used by a shellfish grower for hatchery and nursery grow-out. After Superstorm Sandy destroyed the shellfish grower’s previous facility, the grower moved to this location. NJDA staff has been working with the grower to obtain information on the site, and is now working with Taxation to ensure a thorough review of the location, farming practices, and potential eligibility.

Secure Milk Supply - The Mid-Atlantic Secure Milk Supply (MA-SMS) Regional meeting will be held May 10-12, 2016 in Salem County, NJ. The Mid-Atlantic Secure Milk Supply is a regional business continuity plan that involves the agreement between 12 member states to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) for milk movement in the event of a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak. The Secure Milk Supply (SMS) plan allows for the movement of non-infected milk from dairy farms to processing plants in a FMD outbreak.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza - Since the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in January 2015 where over 40,000,000 birds were depopulated, there have been no new cases discovered in the United States. The NJDA is continuing to remain vigilant and prepare for a future outbreak in the State. The NJDA is continuing to work with the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) to design a table top exercise (TTX) that would test the updated highly pathogenic avian influenza emergency response plan (HPAI-ERP). This HPAI-ERP TTX will be held in conjunction with the USDA and all the support agencies of the HPAI-ERP. This TTX will help the State prepare for a future HPAI outbreak by testing interagency understanding of the plan and identifying future contingencies that may develop in an HPAI outbreak.

Listeria Proficiency Test (PT) - The AHDL has successfully completed the Listeria PT offered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response network (Vet-LIRN). The PT focused on isolation and identification of Listeria in raw foods using dog food as the matrix. The AHDL demonstrated competency in isolating and correctly identifying Listeria organism in all of the samples.

Jersey Fresh Availability & Forecast Report - The seasonal "Jersey Fresh Availability & Forecast Report" was begun again to update the regions produce industry, Cooperative Extension staff, Department personnel, restaurateurs, Jersey Fresh licensed growers, and food media communicators on the current and future availability of Jersey Fresh produce. The New Jersey Agricultural Statistics Service also disseminates this information in a weekly report. The report indicates the general quality and quantity of produce available in the marketplace.

Social Media - Jersey Fresh’s social media channels have continued to see an increase in followers. The period of 3/15-4/14 saw continued growth in daily Facebook page likes to a total of 3,654 from 3,489 in March. The twitter account also saw an increase in followers to a total of 2,847 vs 2, 731 last month. As of 4/14 the Jersey Fresh Instagram account had 3,149 followers vs 2,895 in March. The Marketing Division has taken over the responsibility of updating the Department websites as well as managing the NJDA Facebook and Twitter accounts. Efforts were focused on growing the social network to include New Jersey farms, farm markets, reporters and media channels.

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program - Applications are now being accepted from eligible New Jersey agricultural organizations for the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. This popular USDA programs assists the fruit, vegetable and horticultural market sectors with funding for promotion, research, and education. For more information see the department’s website at: Each Specialty Crop Block Grant has a three year lifespan. Annual performance reports are being collected, reviewed and prepared for the 2014 and 2015 Specialty Crop Block Grant program years.  A final performance report for the 2013 program year has been submitted to USDA for review.    

Eastern Produce Council Dinner - The Department will host the May 24th Eastern Produce Council dinner at Demarest Farms in Bergen County to promote Jersey Fresh agricultural products to more than 240 council members representing the NYC regional retail, sales (brokers & buyers), and transportation and service companies related to the produce industry.