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For Immediate Release: September 21, 2010
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded the Christie Administration a $840,373 United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant for a variety of uses including education, marketing and promotion of New Jersey agricultural products.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture will use the grant for 10 projects, including the Jersey Fresh marketing program.

“This federal grant program will help New Jersey farmers promote their products and conduct research to improve their crops as well as educate residents about the importance of agriculture in our state,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “Grants like these support economic growth and the development of vital industries, such as agriculture.”

Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture, nursery crops and floriculture. Most of New Jersey agriculture falls into the specialty crop category.

The projects to be funded by New Jersey’s grant include:
  • Jersey Fresh Program –support print, radio and cable television advertising, as well as New Jersey Transit bus outdoor advertising.
  • New Jersey Peach Promotion Council – expand promotional campaign by incorporating new activities; update their marketing theme; reconstruct their website to provide more information and interaction to users; expand educational outreach and dissemination of industry information.
  • New Jersey Farm Bureau – work with New Jersey Farm to School Network to educate consumers about the benefits of buying locally grown; work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to hold educational seminars for farmers on direct marketing opportunities and provide farmers with point-of-purchase display materials.
  • Garden State Wine Growers Association – develop an expanded wine trails promotion fro 2011, “Barrel Tasting Trail,” for NJ wine to provide intimate access to the vintners and develop an appreciation for fine wines produced in New Jersey.
  • Landisville Cooperative Association – expand the oldest farmer-owned produce cooperative in the U.S. into the retail market, using the funds for display cases, refrigeration units and marketing and promotional materials.
  • New Jersey Museum of Agriculture – develop “Keeping the Garden in the Garden State” event programming, including Fall/Winter farmers markets, to promote the importance of the state’s specialty crops to children and adults.
  • New Jersey Blueberry Growers Association – provide for a radio advertising campaign during the peak blueberry growing season in 2011 to differentiate New Jersey blueberries to the consumer, and promote them as a nutritious alternative in their diets.
  • New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association – develop point-of-sale advertising and a buyer’s guide to support the Department’s “Jersey Grown” program for the horticulture industry.
  • Tri-County Cooperative Auction – conduct a promotional and advertising campaign, including direct mail, website development, print advertising and point-of-sale advertising items, expanding the auction’s retail sales to attract area consumers and restaurants to the cooperative.
  • New Jersey Small Fruit Council – conduct research and taste testing into new strawberry varieties that outperform current varieties without use of large amounts of insecticides and fungicides.

The New Jersey grant was announced last week by the USDA as part of a total of $55 million in Specialty Crop Block grants for 827 projects throughout the nation.