skip to main content skip to main navigation

May 25, 2016

Plant Pest Survey - Data was entered into the National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS) for the 2014 and the 2015 Farm Bill Honeybee Survey. Through these surveys New Jersey bees were sampled and tested for a variety of honeybee pests, diseases and pesticides. These national surveys have been conducted using federal Farm Bill funding since 2009. In a typical year over 30 states participate, and data from all states are used to create a baseline for Honeybee disease prevalence throughout the United States.

Emerald Ash Borer - The Department of Environmental Protection foresters are working with the Department of Agriculture, USDA and Rutgers as part of the New Jersey Emerald Ash Borer Task Force, which is coordinating efforts with the municipalities and counties to protect trees on state lands and communities that surround them. The Department has begun its trapping program, placing purple, sticky traps in areas surrounding those where EAB is active.  In addition, in an effort to protect the state’s ash trees, the Department began a program to release biocontrol parasitoids for EAB in areas of Mercer and Somerset counties.  Releases will be made every two weeks throughout the beetle’s active season.

Social Media - Last year’s Jersey Fresh Love campaign has been revitalized this season and now participants are eligible to win prizes as well as vote on their favorite images.  Just like last year, people are asked to share their love of Jersey Fresh by posting pictures of their favorite fruits, vegetables or dishes; a local farmer, farmers market or roadside stand; a favorite restaurant that serves Jersey Fresh dishes; or a visit to a NJ winery, pick-your-own farm or agri-tourism adventure – anything & everything they love about Jersey Fresh.  They can still enter on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #JerseyFreshLove.  Plus, now they can upload images on the Jersey Fresh Facebook page.  Also, new this year, participants are encouraged to ask their friends to visit the gallery and vote! Each week one (1) winner will be chosen at random to receive a Jersey Fresh apron, reusable shopping bag and car magnet. At the end of the contest, the one (1) photo submission with the most votes will be awarded the grand prize – a choice of a Jersey Fresh Experience worth up to $500. The contest runs May 18 through September 14 with voting through September 21.

Staff kicked off the Jersey Fresh Recipe video series. The first video was shared with fans and highlighted Jersey Fresh asparagus. Additional videos will be filmed and edited in-house that highlight seasonal Jersey produce throughout the year. The videos will be shared on the Jersey Fresh social media channels. Upcoming videos are to include spinach and strawberries.

Laboratory Approval - The Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (AHDL) was recently approved to perform Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) testing. The AHDL is the only approved CEM lab in the state.  This designation is extremely valuable for the two quarantine facilities operating in New Jersey.  CEM is a venereal infection of the genital tract of horses brought on by the Taylorella equigenitalis bacteria.  Horses are held in a quarantine facility until a negative result is issued by the laboratory.  Once results are reported to the State Veterinarian, the horse is free to move anywhere within the United States.  The approval last until April 2018.

Secure Milk Supply - The Secure Milk Supply (SMS) Plan is currently under development. In the event foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is diagnosed in the United States, an animal health emergency will be declared and livestock and allied industries will feel the immediate impacts of animal and animal product quarantine and movement restrictions. The Mid-Atlantic SMS spring meeting was held at the Rutgers Extension office in Salem County May 10-12, 2016. Secretary Fisher opened the meeting that had representatives from states as far as Iowa, Minnesota and California.  Federal authorities from Washington, DC USDA APHIS Veterinary Services office also attended the meeting.  USDA APHIS Veterinary Services provides funds for the plan development and outreach activities. The 12 states in the Mid-Atlantic group participated on discussions on how to allow milk to move in the event of a Foot and Mouth Disease, a foreign animal disease, in the US.  Activities included a classroom lectures, presentations and field visit to a major milk processing unit in the County.  Representatives and organizers of the National SMS also were in attendance.

Red Knot Consultation Update - All active shellfish farms within the Cape May County area from Bidwells Creek south to Miami Avenue (Villas) are permitted through the US Army Corps of Engineers with associated conditions to limit impacts to red knots. As per the requirements of the consultation process, between May 1st and June 7th growers are restricted to five days per week of access, which must occur within a four hour window bounding low tide (from two hours before to two hours after low tide, each access day).  There is one farm operation that is only allowed two days of farm access per week, with the same four hour window around low tide. For the farms allowed to access five days per week, the schedule of access is Monday through Friday. 

Researchers examining the interactions between aquaculture (gear and workers) and red knots have continued their studies which began last year. This year’s study will include some changes to methodology based on the results of last year’s study. These changes are mainly to better capture potential distance at which red knots flee an area (e.g. at what distance does an aquatic farm worker cause the bird to move away). The NJDEP also has a continuous, long-term data collection project related to migratory shore birds, which will continue this year.

Food and Hunger Projects by Ag Ed Programs/FFA Chapters:

The Salem County Vocational Technical School has two school yard gardens, where they grow produce and herbs. The produce is available to students, faculty, and community members. Construction students built the shed, compost bin, and raised garden beds. The Culinary Arts program uses the gardens as an outdoor classroom, and utilizes produce in their instruction. The Ag Ed program has 10 chickens and a bee yard.

South Hunterdon Regional High School Agriculture program utilizes Green Walls to grow greens, herbs and tomatoes for school lunches and culinary arts classes.  The FFA chapter also participates in a Tractor Supply Grants for Growing project where they working with elementary school students to plant and grow vegetables in a community garden at their school. All produce that is harvested from the garden is donated to a local food bank for families in need.

Camden County Tech in Pennsauken has received an FFA “Food for All” grant and is growing produce for the students and teachers in the school community and hopefully for school lunches when approved by the administration. They participate regularly in community events, such as a “Family Fun Night” where 200 people attended. FFA chapter members help children plant vegetable seeds.

Warren Hills Regional High School’s FFA chapter conducted “Food for America” days where 200 elementary students come to the high school to learn where their food comes from. FFA chapter members brought sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, chicks, chickens, ducks, a pig, a horse, and a tractor to school to teach attendees about the agriculture industry.

Phillipsburg High School’s FFA chapter conducts Barnyard Days (now in its 39th year) where 1,500+ pre-school and elementary school students spend several hours at the high school learning about agriculture through animal, plant and equipment exhibits. The Program targets preschool through 3rd grade students to help educate them on the importance of agriculture and where food comes from.

Northern Burlington Regional High School has also established a community garden thanks to the FFA Food for All grants and Tractor Supply Grants for Growing program. They have built raised garden plots with irrigation. They also involved other school organizations in building the raised beds.  Their goal is to donate 500 pounds or more to “Farmers against Hunger” and other food banks.

The Office of Agricultural Education is working with the Division of Food and Nutrition to increase awareness about local Chapter activities that involve food and hunger initiatives.