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Secretary's Report to the State Board of Agriculture
May 25, 2011
Equine Herpes Virus -- Quarantines at Overbrook and Tourelay Farms in Colts Neck, which had restricted horse movement in and out of the two Monmouth County farms since April 14th due to an Equine Herpes outbreak were lifted on May 6. An investigation found six horses at one of the farms had contracted the neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus, Type One (EHV-1). One of those horses was euthanized after it failed to respond to treatment. The other five horses recovered from their illnesses. During the course of the 21-day quarantine, all horses at both farms were under veterinary supervision. Department of Agriculture veterinarians made frequent visits, monitoring for signs of EHV-1. The quarantine was lifted after a final check by NJDA veterinarians found no signs of the disease.
Farm to School Tours -- Food and Nutrition Division Director Rose Tricario led the first of three Farm to School farm tours for school food service providers and produce distributors at Giamarese Farms in East Brunswick on May 24. About 15 people toured the farm and learned about distribution, availability, and food safety, as well as made connections with distributors of local produce. Two more tours are planned in other parts of the state next month.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program - As part of an effort to improve the health of children by providing access to nutritious meals in schools, New Jersey has received funding to expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2011-2012 school year. One hundred and forty-three schools in 16 counties have been chosen to participate in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded program for the next school year, which provides students with fresh produce during the school day. Presently, 101 schools are participating in the program for the current school year. The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the increased spending for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The USDA plans to provide $158 million to the programs nationwide. New Jersey's allocation is expected to be $3,756.315, a 48.4 percent increase over the funding for the program last year when 101 schools received $2,530,957. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program exposes school children to healthy foods and increases their fruit and vegetable consumption, ultimately leading to improved lifelong dietary habits.
Agricultural Education Grants -- When the 2011-2012 school year begins in September, 13 schools in the state will offer the rigorous Curriculum in Agricultural Science Education (CASE) to help prepare students for college and careers in agriculture. Secretary Fisher announced the grants to the more than 400 students, advisors, guests and staff attending the opening session of the 82nd New Jersey State FFA Convention at Rutgers University in New Brunswick on May 24. Ten agricultural education programs received $7,800 grants to support the professional development of the teachers, implement new agriculture courses at the school and upgrade the learning environment or equipment to teach the courses. Receiving the grants were: Allentown High School; Cumberland Regional High School; Essex County Vocational Technical School; Hackettstown High School; Northern Burlington County Regional High School; Ocean County Vocational Technical School; Somerset Vocational Technical School; South Hunterdon Regional High School; Sussex County Vocational Technical School; and, Union County Vocational Technical High School. There will be four new CASE schools next school year.
Winter Honey Bee Death Loss -- The New Jersey Beekeepers Association winter death loss survey on 2,000 colonies showed that beekeepers that did not treat their colonies to reduce the Varroa mite load experienced a 65 percent death loss. Those who waited until fall to treat experienced a 48 percent death loss, while those who treated in late summer experienced a 17 percent death loss.
Gypsy Moths -- Gypsy Moth aerial spraying was conducted on 274 acres in Waterford and Winslow Townships in Camden County on May 11. Over the summer, an aerial defoliation survey will be conducted to determine the extent of tree damage from gypsy moths this year.
Cooperative Mosquito Control Program -- A new weapon is being unleashed this spring by the State in the ongoing battle against mosquitoes: Macrocyclops albidus. The tiny, shrimp-like crustacean, which is native to New Jersey and has a hearty appetite for mosquito larvae, is being grown in large numbers at the Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Rearing Lab and has been distributed to mosquito control authorities in Atlantic, Cumberland, Gloucester, Monmouth, and Warren counties. The Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Agriculture have been exploring this new mosquito-battling tool for several years, doing field trials in Hunterdon, Morris, Monmouth, Ocean and Cumberland counties since 2006. The crustacean, which is used to deal with mosquitoes in warmer locales from New Orleans to Vietnam, was approved by State scientists for a full-fledged New Jersey rollout this spring to deal with an expected bumper crop of mosquitoes.
Envirothon -- For the second year in a row, students from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences (MATES) in Manahawkin were the winners of the New Jersey Envirothon, held Saturday May 7 at Camp Glen Gray in Mahwah. The team will represent New Jersey in the 2011 Canon Envirothon at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada in July.
Jersey Fresh Three Day Equine Event -- More than 100 horses and riders from seven nations competed in the event at the Horse Park of New Jersey on May 12-15. Many scout troops attended the badge program at the Equine Expo. And, the cross-country field was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Stephen P. Dey, who had served as President of the Horse Park Board of Trustees and was a past president of the State Board of Agriculture.
Animal Health Laboratory -- USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has granted approval to the lab to conduct diagnostic testing in support of aquatic animal export for Infectious hematopoietic necrosis, Koi herpesvirus, spring viremia of carp and viral hemorrhagic septicemia. In addition, the lab has met the evaluation criteria and requirements to become a provisionally approved member of the National Animal health Laboratory network, which allows the lab to perform avian influenza surveillance testing as well as testing of foreign animal diseases including foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever.
National FFA Board of Directors -- Erin Noble, State FFA Specialist (Executive Secretary), was appointed to the National FFA Board of Directors, filling a U.S. Department of Education position representing FFA Executive Secretaries all over the country. And, Susan Butch, Executive Assistant, was selected to serve on the National FFA Alumni Council.