Jersey Grown Kick-off – The Department announced the launch of the newly redesigned Jersey Grown website www.jerseygrown.nj.gov on April 8 at Brock Farms in Freehold. The site has a wide range of information about the program and industry, including a search function for nurseries and garden centers. There are listings for “choose and cut” Christmas tree farms and gardens or arboretums to visit. The site has details on all the Jersey Grown products and information for growers on how to become part of the program. There also is helpful information for gardeners, such as New Jersey weather and the plant hardiness zone map, and a number of links to resources covering everything from where to get soil tested to what plants are deer resistant. Secretary Fisher was joined by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Monmouth County Freeholder Serena DiMaso and Freehold Township Mayor Barbara McMorrow for the kick-off of the spring planting season. Secretary Fisher urged people to visit their nearby nurseries and garden centers to look for Jersey Grown annual bedding plants, perennials, shrubs and trees.
Specialty Crop Block Grants -- Department of Agriculture is accepting applications in anticipation of the 2014 United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grants. To be eligible for a grant, projects must "enhance the competitiveness" of specialty crops and might include, but are not limited to: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, "buy local" programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development and developing cooperatives. The deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2013. Although the 2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant program has been approved for funding, the federal budget sequestration has caused a delay in U.S.D.A.’s official announcement of each State’s grant allocation. At this time all Specialty Crop Block Grant Program applications to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture are to be considered tentative pending the publication of the funding allocation in a Notice of Funding Availability in the federal registry.
FSMIP Grant Announcement -- Secretary Fisher visited Landis Intermediate School in Vineland on April 17 to announce the state received a $62,713 U.S. Department of Agriculture Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant to continue work with Rutgers Food Innovation Center on a project to bring Made with Jersey Fresh items to schools throughout the state. A previous $51,000 grant developed several menu items using Jersey Fresh produce that meet National School Lunch Program nutrition requirements. The new grant will be used to launch these processed items and pave the way for distribution to schools. At Landis School, Secretary Fisher sampled a Jersey Fresh Berry Yogurt Parfait and Breaded Eggplant Parmesan Pizza, two of the items developed during the first grant. A 20-student panel also tasted the items and filled out a survey about their impressions of the items.
Soil Erosion & Sediment Control Program -- The State Soil Conservation Committee approved the amendments to the Standards for the control and management of sediment and erosion on New Jersey construction sites. The revised Standards include additional options for vegetative stabilization in the Pinelands National Reserve. Others have been collapsed into one Standard. They will be published in the NJ Register with a 60-day public comment period.
Agricultural Recycling Collection Resumes -- This year, there are expanded opportunities for New Jersey farmers to recycle their agricultural plastics, including for the first time mulch film (any color), drip irrigation tape, row covers, low tunnel film, high tunnel film, silage bags, peat moss bags, silos covers, and hay bale wraps and almost any non-container agricultural plastic including pots and trays. The nursery and greenhouse film recycling program, entering its 17th year, is one of the most successful programs of its kind in the nation. Since the program began in 1997, New Jersey growers have recycled more than 9.8 million pounds of used nursery and greenhouse film. This is the 12th year for the free plastic pesticide container recycling program, which collects properly rinsed plastic pesticide containers from all categories of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection-licensed pesticide applicators and custom application businesses. Since the program was initiated in 2002, more than 404,000 pounds of pesticide containers have been recycled. Last year, more than 110,000 plastic pesticide containers were recycled through the program. Growers also can recycle their drip irrigation tape, nursery pots, plastic flats, trays, and cell packs may recycle tractor trailer loads of the material through a variety of vendors. For more information on the programs, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/md/prog/recycling.html.
Warren County Horse Farm Quarantine – The Department quarantined a Warren County farm after a 22-year-old horse developed the highly infectious equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM). EHM is the often deadly, neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) infection. The horse had not left the premises in years. The thoroughbred mare was euthanized on March 31 after it had a rapid progression of neurological signs typical of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy and subsequently tested positive for EHV-1. There are a number of other horses present at the facility, none of which have shown signs of the disease. This is the third case of EHM in New Jersey this year. An EHM-positive horse in Somerset County prompted quarantines at two farms in January and two other farms were quarantined in February due to a sick horse in Gloucester County. No other horses in the two unrelated cases showed signs of the illness and the quarantines were lifted after 21 days of quarantine.
Animal Emergency Working Group Symposium -- The New Jersey Animal Emergency Working Group (AEWG) held its 15th Annual Symposium on April 10 at the Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center in Westampton. The focus of this year’s symposium was to prepare state and county animal response teams to aid animals during house, barn and forest fires. During the daylong seminar, a number of presentations focused on prevention and response for these types of emergencies as well as the need for coordination between responding agencies.
Jets Eat Right, Move More Program – Spring Jets player visits have begun at the schools that won the current school year’s Eat Right, Move More contest. On April 17, Offensive Tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson visited Paterson School No. 2, telling students the importance of eating healthy foods and getting a lot of exercise. On April 24, Cornerback Bret Lockett visited William B. Cruise School #11 in Passaic. Two more programs are planned for May 1 in Brick and Hamilton (Atlantic County).
Emerald Ash Borer Survey – Traps are expected to be deployed in the coming weeks in the 2013 Emerald Ash Borer grid survey. There are 174 sites with ash trees that have been identified for trapping. Traps will be placed throughout 11 New Jersey counties.
Jersey Fresh 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.