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Secretary's Report to the State Board of Agriculture
April 23, 2008Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradicated – The United States Department of Agriculture and New Jersey Department of Agriculture have declared the five-year cooperative effort to rid Jersey City and Hoboken of the tree-killing Asian longhorned beetle a success. They joined together on April 1 in Jersey City near where the beetle was first discovered in New Jersey to announce that the bug had been eradicated in the Hudson County quarantine zone. The Asian longhorned beetle was first discovered in New Jersey when a concerned citizen saw the bug fly onto a tree in Jersey City in October of 2002. Surveys found 113 infested trees in the city’s Newport section. As part of the eradication effort, the 113 infested trees as well as 348 at-risk host trees were removed. The New Jersey Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection worked with property owners to replant 433 trees. Eradication work continues in the Middlesex/Union County quarantine zone, where a second infestation was discovered in August 2004. Since then, 616 infested trees were discovered. Those and 20,903 at-risk host trees were removed and 4,977 trees were replanted. No infested trees have been discovered since April of 2006.
Gypsy Moth – The aerial suppression program will commence on or after May 1 in the southern part of the state and on or after May 7 in the northern part of the state. A chart with the final spray program information is available on the Department’s gypsy moth web page at www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/gypsymoth.html.
Dairy Decision -- Dairy farmers may be receiving higher prices from processors for their raw milk compared to 2006, but their costs for fuel, feed and fertilizer have also risen significantly, so they should continue receiving additional payments, according to a decision issued by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. The Department reviewed the so-called ”fuel adjustment add-on,” which was first instituted in February 2007. That regulation mandates that purchasers of raw milk from New Jersey dairy farmers must pay the farmers an additional charge for fuel to help offset high diesel prices. The payment is calculated monthly by the Department and moves up or down based on whether the price of the fuel has risen or fallen. Farmers have received an average of $325 per month from the fuel adjustment add-on. Testimony received throughout the hearing process showed that the fuel payment has accounted for an increase of just one-half cent to one cent on the retail price of a gallon of milk to the consumer. The decision was issued after a series of hearings starting in November 2007 and ending this February.
Jersey Seafood Branding Rule -- Seafood produced by New Jersey fishermen or aquaculturists may now bear the new Jersey Seafood logo, identifying local seafood and helping to assure quality. A series of logos with specific seafood items pictured was unveiled on April 22 at the Fishermen’s Cooperative Dock in Point Pleasant Beach. To be able to use the logos, farm-raised and wild caught seafood must meet a specific set of standards, which consider environmental impact, product quality and food safety. The Jersey Seafood brand is modeled after the state’s successful Jersey Fresh branding program for produce and other products. The State Board of Agriculture recently approved new rules to permit aquatic farmers, commercial seafood harvesters and packers/processors of New Jersey seafood commodities to become licensed by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and to market their products using the Jersey Seafood logo.
Beginning Beekeepers Program -- The bee-ginner beekeeper course was held April 10-12. Seventy participants qualified for $300 dollars in beekeeping. The participants were instructed in all aspects of beekeeping. This included beekeeping equipment, bee biology, honey bee diseases, seasonal management, products of the hive and many more. The final step of the three-day hands on course was when the students extracted honey from the hives and took a sample home for their families. A second course will be held in May and there is a waiting list for a possible third course in the fall.
A voluntary survey of over-winter death loss was conducted by the apiarist and the New Jersey Beekeepers Association. It appears as if there was a 15 percent death loss over the winter. That was down from 45 percent winter loss last year.
Beef Recall -- All inventories from the Westland/Hallmark Beef recall have been accounted for and data on all three stages of the recall submitted to USDA. A public voucher seeking reimbursement from USDA for expenses incurred by all involved parties has been submitted for the first two stages. USDA placed an administrative “hold” on Hallmark/Westland beef on January 30, 2008 based on notification of possible violations of USDA regulations. On February 17, USDA determined that the products destined for federal food assistance programs, including the National School Lunch Program, should be removed from schools and other holding facilities and destroyed.
Young Farmers Spring Planting Tour – Secretary Kuperus visited four farms in South Jersey owned by people in their 20’s and 30’s or in which young family members figure prominently in the business on April 18. His annual spring planting tour took him to: Porch Farms in Pedricktown, Salem County, a 175-acre wholesale fruit and vegetable farm, is operated by 36-year-old Brian Porch, a third generation farmer; Dusty Lane Farms in Elmer, operated by William Brooks and his 26 year old son, Michael. Their family has been working that land since 1773. The Brooks grow tomatoes and spinach for processing as well as potatoes, peas, corn, wheat and soybeans; Marlboro Farm Market in Bridgeton, a diverse retail market and nursery that specializes in heirloom sweet potatoes and peaches, is operated by Ken Harris, with help from his 20 year old son Ken Jr. and his nephew, Dale Cruzan III, a former state FFA president; and Centeron, BlewLine Nurseries, where 27 year old Bob Blew and his 29 year old brother Don grow more than 50 acres of Daylilies, Hosta and woody shrubs. They are 10th generation farmers.
Marketing Report – Jersey Fresh Availability Report: The seasonal "Jersey Fresh Availability & Forecast Report" has 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 report indicates the general quality and quantity of produce available in the marketplace. This information can help buyers with their purchasing and marketing decisions as they relate to Jersey products since retailers typically design their store circulars and marketing strategies three to four weeks in advance.
Community Farmers Markets: There are 89 confirmed markets for the 2008 growing season, with new markets expected in Camden, Livingston, Princeton and two on the Garden State Parkway. Secretary Kuperus and marketing staff attended the opening of the Greening Princeton Farmers Market on April 15. Ten farmers/vendors are participating in the spring/fall market on the Princeton University campus. Sandwich boards have been developed for the markets that welcome patrons and explain the importance of shopping at a market. The sandwich boards are being delivered to each market.
Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event: More than 100 competitors from five different countries are expected to take part in the event at the Horse Park of New Jersey May 7-11. The estimated economic impact of this event is $3.2 million dollars.