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September 25, 2002

AFO/CAFO - As a follow-up on EPA and DEP initiated programs to identify concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), the Secretary of Agriculture sent a letter to more than 4,000 animal owners and producers informing them to evaluate their operations and assure they are protecting water quality. They are advised to contact the Department to receive a copy of a self-help guide entitled "On Farm Strategies to Protect Water Quality". Concurrently the Department is calling together the Animal Waste Management Advisory Committee to evaluate a proposed rule for Animal Waste Management. When adopted, the rules will provide a voluntary program that includes comprehensive procedures for beneficial use of animal waste management including aquaculture waste.

Plant Laws Task Force - The Plant Laws Task Force held it first meeting on August 29, 2002. The purpose of the Task Force is to evaluate the current plant pest and nursery laws of the Department and to make recommendations for amendments if necessary. The Plant Laws Task Force is comprised of members representing the key plant agricultural organizations in the state.

Marketing and Promotions - Market Development staff represented the New Jersey produce industry to the United States Congress on Capital Hill at the United Fresh and Fruit and Vegetable Association's Annual Fresh Festival. Meeting with representatives of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation, and other members of Congressional staff. The many benefits and contributions of New Jersey's agricultural industries were discussed with the attendees.

The "Where to Find New Jersey Apples 2002" was distributed to county agricultural agents and to CTM Brochure Display. CTM will distribute more than 8,000 brochures throughout the state at state parks and in travel and tourist rest stop locations. This information can also be found on the Jersey Fresh Web Site

Market Development staff along with Plant Industry staff began collecting data and information for a new Horticulture page on the jersey fresh website. The site will list garden centers and retail nurseries throughout the state. Additionally, consumers will be able to use to access information through the county's master gardeners programs and other horticulture-related links.

Professional Development Teacher Conference - The Office of Agricultural Education is planning a professional development conference for agricultural educators, on Sept. 27 at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. The theme is "marketing agricultural education" and will feature Secretary Kuperus and the director of the National Association of Agricultural Educators, Jay Jackman. The meeting will include updates from Agricultural Education partners, new curriculum for teachers, incorporating FFA career development events into the curriculum, electronic membership roster training, and methods to "market" Agricultural Education programs to students and to the industry as a source of employees.

Eastern States Exposition - New Jersey FFA was represented by more than 40 FFA members in 13 regional career development events during the recent Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Mass. As members of the state winning team, students utilize this event in preparation for national competition, which occurs Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Louisville, KY. The Nursery/Landscape team from Warren Hills FFA, Warren Hills Regional School District (Warren County) placed first and the Floriculture team from Burlington County Institute of Technology Westampton Campus placed second.

Farmland Preservation - The SADC has scheduled three Right to Farm workshops for County Agriculture Development Board Administrators and Members, as well as County Boards of Agriculture Presidents. The purpose of the workshops is to educate and assist the CADB staff and professionals in the Right to Farm Program, especially in light of the recent den Hollander Supreme Court decision.

At its September 17th meeting, the Garden State Preservation Trust granted approval to the State Agriculture Development Committee's project list, totaling $73.2 million. It is estimated that this will result in an additional preservation of 15,225 acres.

Farm Risk Management and Crop Insurance - The Risk Management Agency, USDA awarded to the Department of Agriculture and Rutgers Cooperative Extension a grant of $117,000 to carry out a farm risk management and crop insurance education program for New Jersey farmers. In 2002 there were 1,511 policies sold providing $65.8 million in liability coverage on 163,387 acres of cropland. Data released by the Risk Management Agency for 2001 show that for every $1 farmers paid in insurance premiums, $1.88 was paid out by insurance companies to cover crop losses.

Food Distribution - During September, the Food Distribution Bureau created food offerings for October allocation to all recipient school districts in New Jersey. This second allocation for School Year (SY) 2002/2003 included over 5,800 cases of primarily Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, cantaloupes, and peppers. This fresh produce was part of the 30 varieties of food, totaling 64,495 cases or 2,275,775 pounds, to be offered to recipient school districts during October.

West Nile Virus - To date, in NJ, there are 15 confirmed equine cases, with five deaths. None of the horses with clinical WNV disease this year have been vaccinated. A cluster of equine cases was identified last week on the Cumberland/Salem County border. State and local mosquito agencies as well as entomologists from Cook College are assisting the Division of Animal Health in the investigation of these cases and mitigation of observed mosquito populations.

The Division continues to recommend eliminating mosquito friendly environments on farms, including outdoor items that tend to retain water, unless they can be regularly cleaned. Additional precautions include: vaccinating horses against WNV and other mosquito transmitted diseases such as Eastern equine encephalitis; reducing the exposure of horses to mosquitoes by keeping them indoors from dusk until dawn and the judicious use of insecticide spray.