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Secretary's Report to the State Board of Agriculture
June 27, 2002Gypsy Moth Suppression – Secretary Kuperus and Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner John Watson took an aerial tour over Burlington and Ocean Counties to view some of the worst defoliation areas due to gypsy moth caterpillars. The Department coordinated with 34 towns in 11 counties and five agencies to spray 62,500 acres with B.t.k. Aerial defoliation surveys were completed the week of June 18th and the data is being compiled. It is estimated between 200,000 and 300,000 of defoliation occurred this year.
Hunger Initiative – The final installment of Governor Corzine’s Hunger Initiative was distributed to six emergency feeding operations on May 29. Secretary Kuperus presented the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties with their $58,625 check at an event at the FoodBank in Neptune. The FoodBank at that time also presented three agencies with refrigerators or freezers, paid for with the infrastructure money from the program. The Fiscal Year 2008 state budget, approved by the state legislature on June 21 contains $4 million to continue the initiative, with all money slated to go toward additional food purchases. The budget is under review by the Governor.
Farmland Preservation Funding -- The Legislature approved and Governor Corzine is expected to sign legislation authorizing the issuance of $200 million in bonds for open space, farmland and historic preservation, and the acquisition of flood-prone properties. The measure is subject to voter approval and will be on the November ballot this year. With Garden State Preservation Trust funding nearly depleted, the legislation will extend preservation funding for another year through FY2009. The funding allocation provides $73 million for farmland preservation, $109 million for open space -- which maintains the 40-60 farmland/open space funding split -- $12 million for Blue Acres (flood acquisitions) and $6 million for historic preservation. The Legislature also approved the SADC's FY2008 appropriation bills that provide $97 million for farmland preservation and $393,000 for soil and water conservation grants.
Spring Farm Tour – Secretary Kuperus, Assistant Secretary Murray and Marketing staff toured four farms in Cumberland County on June 7. They visited Sheppard Farms’ 30 organic acres in Newport, where they were accompanied by Assemblyman Douglas Fisher, Chairman of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. In addition, they visited Andy’s Countryside Farm Market and greenhouses in Millville; Dave Monteleone Farms, a 35-acre farm in Vineland specializing in herbs; and Ploch Farms, a diverse wholesale produce and herb farm in Vineland. Secretary Kuperus highlighted the diverse, flourishing agriculture and the issues surrounding the running of family farms in South Jersey.
Agricultural Leadership Program – Three Department employees, Damon Williams, David Kimmel and Joseph Myers, completed the two-year Agricultural Leadership Development Program. They graduated with Class VI on June 14 at the Museum of Agriculture in New Brunswick.
Seafood Award – Linda O’Dierno, Coordinator of Fish and Seafood Development for the Department was honored by the seafood industry May 21 at the Jersey Shore Partnership’s 11th annual Summer Celebration in Sea Bright. She was presented with the Partnership’s Seafood Industry Award, which is given to those special individuals or organizations that dedicate their work to promoting Jersey Seafood. O’Dierno has been working with the region’s seafood industry for the past 20 years, encouraging people to take advantage of the ocean’s bounty caught right off the New Jersey or New York coasts.
Dairy Month – June, Dairy Month in New Jersey, was celebrated at Upper Freehold Regional Elementary School in Allentown on June 12. Marketing Staff showed 50 third and fourth grade students how to make their own vanilla ice cream. They learned the health benefits of dairy products and how the dairy industry contributes to the state’s economy and quality of life.
Food and Nutrition On-line System – On June 1, the Division launched the School Nutrition Electronic Application and Reimbursement System (SNEARS), allowing School Nutrition Program (SNP) sponsors have begun to complete their information for the Letter to Parents, that accompanies the free and reduced meal application, online. This information had been provided through the mail. The application eliminates the postage, paper and employee time costs. Workshops were held to train sponsors on how to use the new system. Another round of workshops is slated for July and August.
JerseyFresh Three-Day Event -- The 5th Annual Jersey Fresh CCI**/CCI*** was held May 30 - June 3 at the Horse Park of New Jersey, hosting more than 140 horses from eight countries. The estimated economic impact for the event is more than $8 million dollars.
Conservation Poster Contest -- Twelve winners were selected for the 2007 Conservation Education Poster Contest, sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The theme of the contest was “Today is the Day to Be Part of Conservation”. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were selected in the Grades 2-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12 categories. The winners received awards and recognition at the Conservation Education Awards Ceremony held at the State Museum Auditorium on May 31. They were also invited to participate in a tour of the State House in Trenton.
Marketing Report – Community Farmers Markets: Community Farmers Markets around the state are opening for the season. There are 97 markets this year, with seven new markets in: Newark, Camden, Haddonfield, New Providence, Raritan (Dvoor Farm), Ringwood, and Woodbridge. Secretary Kuperus attended the grand opening of the Woodbridge Open Air Farmers Market on June 16 and attended the opening of the Millburn Farmers Market on June 19.
Eastern Produce Council Dinner: Marketing staff coordinated the June meeting of the Eastern Produce Council in Teaneck, kicking off the Jersey Fresh Season. About 160 regional wholesalers, retail buyers and chain store executives attended the dinner. Representatives of the Blueberry, Peach, and Vegetable industries spoke about crop conditions, volume forecasts, and other pertinent information. Secretary Kuperus provided an update on the 2007 Jersey Fresh program.
Jersey Fresh/Jersey Seafood Reports: The Jersey Fresh Forecast and Availability Report continues 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 Jersey Seafood Availability and Forecast report is posted bi-weekly on the Jersey Seafood website at www.jerseyseafood.nj.gov.
Thursday, July 19: the Jersey Fresh Breakfast hosted by Governor Corzine at Drumthwacket in Princeton.