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December 15, 2010

Disaster Declaration --
Governor Christie’s request for a natural disaster declaration from USDA Secretary Vilsack was granted for 16 counties where farmers experienced great losses due to the extreme heat and drought this summer.  Farmers in the Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties are able to access federal assistance programs for damages to their crops from the severe weather from June 1 to September 30.  This declaration is in addition to another natural disaster declaration made by Secretary Vilsack in September, which included for  Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean Counties and the contiguous counties of Gloucester, Mercer Monmouth and Salem which were impacted by winds, frost, freeze, hail and flooding from May 7 to May 31.

Gypsy Moth – Populations of gypsy moth remain at low levels following an overall statewide population collapse in 2009.  Most of the requested 88 egg mass surveys have been conducted this fall with very few areas qualifying for the 2011 aerial spray program.  The proposed spray program will be announced in January.

Predator Release Database – A comprehensive database has been developed for the Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect-rearing Laboratory to document all of the beneficials that have been released through current lab programs.  The purpose of the database is make the lab’s releases more accessible to lab staff, the Department and eventually, to the public.  To date, releases of beneficials include those that control: hemlock woolly adelgid; mile- a-minute; purple loosestrife; and mosquitoes.  Available data will include the numbers released, location and date.

Eat Right, Move More Kick-off – Secretary Fisher and New York Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson on December 14 announced that schools in Netcong, Haledon, Hightstown, Jersey City and Lakewood are this year’s winners of the Eat Right, Move More contest.  Fisher and Ferguson visited the grand prize winner, Netcong Elementary School, for a special program and to present the school with a check for a $5,000 kitchen makeover, made possible by the Jets and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council’s Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign.  School officials plan to use the money to purchase a stove, refrigerator/freezer unit and supplies that will allow them to provide more fresh food alternatives to the children and staff.  Fisher also accompanied the school principal, physical education teacher and six students to the December 12 Jets game vs. the Miami Dolphins.  The school was honored on the field for its strides in good nutrition and increased activity for students, staff and parents.

FDA Grant -- Through a small grant provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 2,000 copies of a laminated “Record of Livestock Medication” booklet was produced for cattle producers.  The booklet includes information about injection sites in cattle, withdraw times for common cattle health care products, an extra-label drug use algorithm, and a list of drugs prohibited for extra-label use in food animals. Although the booklet is geared to cattle (dairy and beef), producers of other food animals may find this useful, and tailor it towards their needs.  The booklets can be distributed free anytime Division of Animal Health personnel are on a food-animal producing farm, and also may be distributed to Rutgers Cooperative County Extension agents’ offices for further distribution. 

Annual Christmas Tree Cutting – Secretary Fisher was joined on December 2 by Lt. Governor Guadagno for the annual Choose and Cut Christmas Tree Season kick-off, this year at Yuletide Tree Farm in New Egypt.  The farm had the Grand Champion tree in this year’s NJ Christmas Tree Growers Association’s annual tree competition.  The Lt. Governor met the state FFA Parliamentarian and members of the Ocean County FFA and expressed support for the state agritourism industry. 

Jersey Grown Birdseed Event – Secretary Fisher participated in a demonstration on the processing and bagging of Jersey Grown Black Oil Sunflower Birdseed at Brodhecker Farm in Newton on November 29.  He praised New Jersey Audubon and the nine farmers participating in the project for supporting the Jersey Grown brand.  He emphasized that the state’s agricultural brands help identify our farmers’ products in the marketplace at a time when there is great interest in buying local.

Poinsettia Day -- Secretary Fisher on December 10 visited Kube Pak in Allentown, one of the five largest growers of poinsettias to promote the horticulture industry.  Locally-grown poinsettias can be found in independent garden centers and florists.  New Jersey has 58 poinsettia growers, growing more than a million plants a year.

Pesticide Container Recycling – There was a 10 percent increase in participation in this year’s pesticide container recycling program over the 2009 program.  Two hundred and thirteen individuals participated in the program, with 23 percent of those recycling even though they did not need core credits.  The program, started in 2002, costs the state nothing to operate.

Outstanding Young Farmer – The New Jersey 2011 Outstanding Young Farmer – fruit and vegetable farmer 39-year-old John Melick of Oldwick, Hunterdon County, has been selected as one of the 10 finalists in the National Outstanding Young Farmer competition.  He will travel to Louisville, Kentucky February 17-21 for the 55th National Outstanding Young Farmer Congress to compete for one of the four National Outstanding Young Farmer awards.

Eat Local Thanksgiving – Secretary Fisher on November 22 encouraged all New Jersey residents to eat local foods for Thanksgiving, citing there are still varieties of Jersey Fresh produce available, as well as Jersey wine and poultry.  Fisher highlighted the availability by canning Jersey Fresh cranberry sauce with a local business that uses only Jersey Fresh produce for its products.

Upcoming Department Events:

January 30, 2011 – The annual New Jersey Bred Equine Breeder Awards Luncheon will be held at Charley’s Other Brother in Eastampton.  The Horseperson of the Year will be announced during the proceedings.

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

March 26, 2011 – The New Jersey Junior Breeder Symposium will be held on the Cook Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick.  Hands on sessions for all species are schedule.