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October 27, 2010

Gypsy Moth –
Egg mass surveys to determine the gypsy moth aerial spray program continues.  Surveys have been conducted so far in towns located in Atlantic, Bergen, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Passaic, Salem, Sussex and Warren Counties.  So far, two areas in Camden County, encompassing 380 acres, have been recommended for treatment in spring of 2011.  The surveys will be completed by the end of the year with the results being announced in early January.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis – A 2-year-old horse from Monmouth County was euthanized on October 6 after contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a rare, but serious, mosquito-borne illness in horses.  The mare had not been vaccinated against EEE.  Effective equine vaccines for EEE and another mosquito-borne disease, West Nile Virus (WNV), have been available for several years.  EEE causes inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death in horses than West Nile Virus infection.  West Nile virus is a viral disease that affects horses’ neurological systems. Horses contract the virus when infected mosquitoes bite them. The diseases cannot be spread from horse to horse or from an infected horse to humans or domestic pets.  While the EEE case is the first of 2010, there have been two reported cases of WNV this year – a 2-year-old mare from Atlantic County and a 22-year-old gelding from Gloucester County.  Both were humanely euthanized and neither was vaccinated for the disease.

Mosquito Control – The Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory assisted the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection with its mosquito control efforts through the rearing of a native copepod.  PABIL distributed 18,800 of the mosquito larvae-eating crustaceans into small woodland pools with the larvae over the 2010 rearing season.  Participating counties included Cape May, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Monmouth and Ocean.

Animal Waste Management -- Approximately 250 low-density plans have been developed by landowners and filed with Rutgers Cooperative Extension office. The Department is coordinating with RCE to improve uniformity with record-keeping and processing of these plans. No high-density management plans have been received by the Department to date.

Water Supply Master Plan -- At the request of the Water Supply Advisory Council (WSAC), the Department developed water needs data for New Jersey livestock. The data table includes daily water needs of the major groups of animals distributed by county.  Livestock need a total of about 1.25 million gallons of water a day, with 500,000 gpd for dairy and beef cattle; 400,000 gpd for chickens; and 300,000 gpd for other animals, including horses. The data has been presented to the WSAC for possible incorporation in the state’s Water Supply Master Plan currently under revision.

Aquaculture Grant -- A second aquafeed grant program is underway, with the USDA providing $20 million to states to assist farmers.  New Jersey will receive $9,523.  The Department executed the grant agreement with the USDA-FSA and the Office of Aquaculture.  Unlike the 2008 program, this 2009 program is not associated with President Obama’s Recovery Act, but is a stand-alone grant to the states from the USDA.  All applicants in the 2008 program were contacted to begin collecting the necessary application data.  The Work Plan and application have been sent to the USDA for their approval.

Agritourism – To kick off the fall agritourism season, Secretary Fisher and Grace Hanlon, Acting Director of the Division of Travel and Tourism visited the VonThun farm in Monmouth Junction on October 4.  The VonThun’s corn maze is carved with the word, ‘Rutgers,’ a Rutgers Football helmet and coach Schiano’s ‘Keep Choppin’’ mantra.  Secretary Fisher also visited a Jersey Fresh-themed maze at Stony Hill Farm Market in Chester on October 14.  Their innovation is just an example of the variety of mazes and activities available on farms now and throughout the year.  On-farm visits are not just revenue producers for both farmers and the state, but they highlight for visitors how much work it takes to be a farmers and how important it is to grow food near where people live. 

Crab’s Claw All-Jersey Dinner – The Department forged a partnership with the Crab’s Claw Inn in Lavallette for the restaurant to include New Jersey produce, seafood, meats and wine on their menu.  To kick-off this initiative, an all-NJ dinner was held at the restaurant on October 6, attended by Secretary Fisher and various other federal and state agriculture officials.  They dined on Jersey Fresh produce, Jersey Seafood, Jersey-raised duck, Jersey-made cheese and New Jersey wine, making the Crab’s Claw Inn, which opened in 1979, the “first” restaurant in the state to serve a dinner to the public featuring pairings of Jersey Fresh produce, Jersey-landed seafood, Jersey-raised Duck, Jersey-made cheese and Jersey wine all in the same meal. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture encourages partnerships between restaurants and Garden State farmers and fishermen to promote Jersey Fresh agricultural products and Jersey Seafood.

Hunger Funding – The Department distributed $2,024,400 in October in State Food Purchase Program second-quarter checks to the six state food banks.

Fall is for Planting – Secretary Fisher held a joint event with the NJ Nursery and Landscape Association at Quinton Nursery in Quinton Township on October 1 to urge residents to patronize local nursery, garden center and landscape businesses this fall to plant trees, shrubs and perennials in preparation for spring.  Horticulture is the largest sector of NJ agriculture, responsible for $380.4 million in revenues each year.

Farm to School Celebration -- Secretary Fisher enjoyed pasta salad with Jersey Fresh broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini as well as pumpkin bars made with home-grown pumpkins at Mercer County Special Services High School in Hamilton on September 30 during their Farm to School celebration.  The Department’s Farm to School program helps connect schools with local farmers to increase school meals’ nutritional value, combat obesity and support the state’s agriculture industry.  Every day that week, Mercer High School featured Jersey Fresh in their menu items, all prepared by the students.

Sire Stakes -- The 2010 Sire Stakes season concluded on October 16 at Freehold Raceway.  A total of 371 different horses competed in the various state-bred stakes races this year.  The Sire Stakes Premier Division and Green Acres Series distributed a total of $4,945,700 in purse money.  Additionally, $190,200 was distributed in purses for the Lou Babic Memorial races for two-year-old pacers, which the Sire Stakes also administers.  In other stakes races restricted to New Jersey-bred entrants and administered by other entities, an additional $1.2 million was distributed, bringing the total value of New Jersey-restricted stakes races to $6,335,800 in 2010.

Animal Pathologist – The Division of Animal Health has a new pathologist.  Dr. Shannon Lee Swist earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University and worked as a Veterinary Pathologist at the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab.  Pathologists are required for all diagnostic labs and are pivotal in animal disease diagnoses.  Dr. Swist can perform necropsies and biopsies.

2011 Agricultural Convention -- The convention will be held February 8 & 9, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.