|2001 New Jersey Agriculture Annual Report|
The Division of Markets plays a critical role in the marketing and promotion of New Jersey farm products and the development and expansion of markets both here and abroad. The division also promotes New Jersey's racing and pleasure horse industry and coordinates the distribution of federally-donated foods to public feeding sites, schools, hospitals and other institutions. In addition, the division is home to the Bureau of Child Nutrition which oversees the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs as well as several other nutritional programs for New Jersey's school-age youngsters.
Jersey Fresh also sponsored summer weekend traffic reports for the shore areas of New Jersey, encouraging travelers to stop at a local farm market on their way home from the shore.
Print advertisements ran in major newspapers and magazines serving the tri-state area to alert consumers to the produce in season throughout the summer. In addition, print ads ran in national trade papers to remind produce industry buyers of the New Jersey farm products available as the growing season progressed.
Consumers were more easily able to find Jersey Fresh produce in their favorite supermarkets, thanks to Jersey Fresh point-of-sale materials that were distributed to more than 775 retail locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, and to many farm markets around the state. The colorful price cards, bin wrap, aprons, hats, stickers and posters helped shoppers zero in on locally-grown, freshly-picked fruits and vegetables throughout the long growing season.
Jersey Fresh booths were prominent fixtures at national and international marketing venues such as the Produce Marketing Association convention, the Food Marketing Institute's annual convention in Chicago, Canadian Grocery Showcase 2000, and several regional chain store-sponsored trade shows. Those retail buyers who visited the New Jersey pavilion came away with the Jersey Fresh Buyers Guide, a booklet created specifically for these audiences that listed all growers who participate in the Jersey Fresh Quality Grading Program, a separate quality assurance effort administered by NJDA's Division of Dairy and Commodity Regulation.
An important companion to the primary marketing effort is the Jersey Fresh Matched Funds program which enables eligible agricultural organizations to apply for matching grants that can be used for additional localized promotions under the Jersey Fresh banner. This year, 89 New Jersey agricultural organizations shared $250,000 in state matching grants that yielded well over $500,000 worth of additional Jersey Fresh exposure.
Among the promotional events partially funded by the matching grant program were the 16th annual Vineland Jersey Fresh festival, the City of Margate's celebration of the New Jersey agricultural industry, a driving hazard for the annual National Driving Championships held in Gladstone as well as county fairs, wine tastings, and food show events throughout the season.
Another important outlet for Jersey Fresh products is farm markets. In addition to continued support for rural farm stands, NJDA partners with a variety of community organizations to support the resurgence of urban farmers' markets. These popular community markets provide additional sales opportunities for farmers and offer a welcome hub for municipal revitalization efforts. In 2000 there were 40 urban farmers' markets around the state.
Farmers' markets are a critical source of fresh fruits and vegetables for some of the state's nutritionally-at-risk populations. More than 110 roadside markets and 35 farmers' markets statewide have joined the WIC/Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), a federally-sponsored program run jointly by NJDA and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Under the program in FY01, approximately $500,000 worth of FMNP checks were issued to over 10,000 Head Start children, pregnant or nursing women in nine targeted cities and other locations. The coupons were redeemable at participating farm stands and markets, providing these families with an excellent opportunity to include fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets.
By providing training, trade leads, financing leads and marketing expertise, NJDA helps the state's food processing companies and farm producers make the most of international marketing opportunities.
One way to draw attention to New Jersey products is through participation in domestic and international trade shows visited by both foreign and domestic buyers. Year round, NJDA works closely with state, federal and regional export development agencies to encourage and underwrite exhibits and provide venues for small companies to reach international markets.
In FY01 NJDA sponsored exhibits in three major international venues: Grocery Innovations/Canada, a retail food and produce industry trade show in Toronto; SALIMA in Prague, Czech Republic, the largest food show in Central Europe; and US Food Export Showcase in Chicago, Illinois, the country's largest supermarket trade exposition and America's largest international trade show for food and agricultural products.
As a member of Food Export USA - Northeast, NJDA distributed $856,000 in federal Market Access Program (MAP) export development grants to 23 New Jersey food companies. MAP, a matched fund foreign market development program, enables small companies to expand their sales in international markets. New Jersey companies that participated in this program have reported an average increase of over $800,000 per company in international sales.
NJDA's Market News Service is a federal-state cooperative venture designed to provide a readily accessible source of unbiased and reliable market information for the state's growers and shippers. Because access to accurate, current marketing information helps New Jersey growers to be more competitive, the Market News Service collects price and supply information from the major blueberry, nectarine and peach growers and shippers in New Jersey and distributes it to state growers, farm marketers and county agents via FAX, email and recorded phone messages. This data is also transmitted to USDA offices in Washington, DC, which relay it to all Market News offices in the United States.
Over 700 USDA Market News reports can be accessed through the internet at www.ams.usda.gov/marketnews. The site also features a 15-month archive of reports, enabling interested parties to research more than a year's worth of data in PDF format. These reports cover local, regional, national and international markets for fruits, vegetables, grain, livestock, poultry, eggs, dairy products, tobacco, cotton and specialty crops.
FAIRS AND SHOWS
The 20 agricultural fairs certified by NJDA hosted over two million visitors in FY01. Agriculture, agribusiness and agricultural education play an important part in each fair and NJDA continues to offer organizers technical assistance as well as special exhibits and promotional materials.
NEW JERSEY JUNIOR BREEDER PROGRAM
The Junior Breeder Program is a revolving loan program created through private endowment in 1921 for the sole purpose of loaning students the funds they need to acquire livestock for educational projects. With the recent resurgence of interest in agricultural education, the program has been revitalized and once again serves as a source of capital for young New Jerseyans who are 4-H members, students in agricultural education classes or members of FFA. This year, the Junior Breeder Program hosted its first-ever Livestock and Equine Youth and Volunteer Symposium, drawing more than 300 participants to a day-long series of educational seminars.
Horse Breeding and Development Program
NJDA's Horse Breeding and Development Program and the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board support the state's pleasure horse industry through a variety of programs, including breeder incentive awards, youth programs, educational clinics, Girl and Boy Scout badge programs and other events designed to promote the entire equine industry. The Equine Advisory Board is composed of 64 members representing 29 different breed organizations and agricultural interest groups.
In FY01, the Horse Breeding and Development Program also distributed $118,500 to owners and breeders of pleasure horses in the Garden State through the New Jersey Bred All Breed Horse Show and the Non-Racing Breeder Awards program. Funding for this program comes from a portion of the pari-mutuel handle on horse races in New Jersey.
Horse Park of New Jersey at Stone Tavern
The Horse Park of New Jersey at Stone Tavern, a 147-acre exhibition, competition and educational venue in Monmouth County, is the result of a unique partnership between the New Jersey Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and private not-for-profit organizations.
The Horse Park, operated under contract with NJDA by a not-for-profit corporation, has hosted nearly two million visitors and competitors in the past 13 years, proving to be one of the area's most important economic assets.
In FY01, the Park hosted 72 days of equine activities from late March through November. Highlighting the season was the completion of the 150' by 300' covered work area that will enable the Park to broaden the scope of its activities and extend its calendar with little concern for inclement weather.
New Jersey Sire Stakes
Since its inception in 1971, the New Jersey Sire Stakes Program has encouraged the breeding of Standardbred horses, the trotters and pacers familiar to harness-racing fans. To be eligible to the New Jersey Sire Stakes program, an owner must purchase or breed a foal sired by a New Jersey registered stallion. That stallion must have been registered with the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and must conform to the rules of the New Jersey Sire Stakes.
During the 2000 racing season, the program revamped its racing program, replacing the former Fair racing program with a Green Acres program. The aim of the Green Acres series is to offer a racing venue to the New Jersey-sired trotters and pacers who may not be the caliber required to compete in the Pari-Mutuel series.
In its inaugural season, the Green Acres program enjoyed tremendous success and popularity among horsemen, racetracks and fans. The Green Acres program offered 49 events that were contested at Freehold Raceway and Garden State Park and awarded $810,847 in total purse money, an increase of $302,838 over total purses paid in the last year of the Fair program.
The racetracks hosting these races welcomed the Green Acres events as they provided the tracks with very competitive races, which were mostly carded on the wagering program. With the great success enjoyed in 2000, an additional leg of Green Acres races is planned for next racing season at the Meadowlands.
The New Jersey Sire Stakes and related programs had a total value of $9,151,895 in FY01. In addition to the $810,847 in Green Acres events, over $5.7 million in Sire Stakes purses was distributed at the pari-mutuel racetracks. The remaining $2,568,247 was awarded in New Jersey restricted overnight (non-stakes) races.
New Jersey-sired Standardbreds consistently win harness racing's highest annual honors and the 2000 racing season proved to be no exception. Bettors Delight, sired by Cams Card Shark, was voted Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt Champion of the Year. Among his victories were the prestigious Breeders Crown for his class and the Governor's Cup.
Day For Night, a three-year-old trotting filly, also earned the national championship in her class. Sired by Donerail, Day For Night was victorious in the Matron Stakes, the Simcoe Stakes, the Bluegrass Stakes, the New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship Final and in elimination races of the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown.
New Jersey-sired yearlings continued to bring top dollar at the fall yearling sales. In 2000, a total of 863 New Jersey-sired yearlings were sold at public auction for a total of $33,230,700, a per-yearling average of over $38,500, nearly twice the national average. Of the New Jersey-sired yearlings sold at public auction, 82 brought more than $100,000 each, with ten of them selling for more than $200,000 each. The top public sale price paid for a yearling in 2000 was $450,000 for a colt sired by Malabar Man who stood his 2000 season at Perretti Farms in Cream Ridge.
New Jersey is one of only three states in the nation to provide a state subsidy for school breakfast. In FY01, 56 new schools joined the program making over 40 percent of the state's schools full participants in the breakfast effort.
In cooperation with Rutgers University, BCN also received a two-year $200,000 Team Nutrition Training Grant from USDA to implement three specific projects:
NJDA's Food Distribution Bureau administers programs to distribute federally-donated commodities. These foods reach over 700 eligible school districts, summer feeding programs, institutions, and needy populations each month. For the past several years, NJDA has taken full advantage of all available foods by accepting New Jersey's fair-share entitlement, plus a substantial amount of bonus donated foods, and once again exceeded its acceptance goals for all program categories in FY01.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
During FY01, The Emergency Food Assistance Program's (TEFAP) donated food program was bolstered by additional food as a result of federal budget increases for the USDA. These additional foods were allocated over and above New Jersey's $2.1 million entitlement. With all bonus and reallocated foods tallied, New Jersey's entitlement reached $7.4 million, providing nearly 12 million pounds of TEFAP foods, an increase of 3.6 million pounds over FY00.
Included among the 80 different TEFAP foods distributed were canned fruits, peanut butter, rice, instant dry milk, pasta, cereal, fruit juice, frozen meats and canned vegetables. Distribution is coordinated through seven non-profit emergency feeding organizations that serve the state's food bank and pantry systems. These foods helped these congregate feeding sites serve more than 250,000 of the state's neediest citizens.
In addition to canned, frozen and dried foods, an increased amount of fresh fruits and vegetables were included in TEFAP commodities. To ensure that these nutritious products were properly stored and handled, NJDA worked with the New Jersey Department of Corrections and the national Produce Marketing Association to develop workshops for food bank personnel. Workshop topics included factors affecting the shelf life of fresh produce and how to evaluate product quality.
Institutional Feeding Programs
NJDA also received over 26 million pounds of USDA foods worth over $19 million for use in other programs, including the school lunch program, which provided monthly allocations of frozen, canned and dry foods to more than 2,200 schools feeding over 500,000 students daily around the state.
To facilitate the use of these products, NJDA worked with 31 commercial food processors to process approximately five million pounds of food into more easily used, cost-effective and oven-ready products such as hamburgers, sandwich steaks, pizza, and a variety of turkey and chicken products. The school districts select foods to be processed into oven-ready products before the start of the new school year which encourages competitive pricing among processors and improves both delivery time and product consistency. The 30 percent increase in this program compared to last year is a direct result of the tremendous savings in preparation times and purchase costs local school districts enjoy through the project.
To showcase this valuable program NJDA sponsored the second annual Processed Food Show this year. More than 285 district food service directors, food service management companies and school buying cooperatives were able to meet with 28 approved processors to discuss their products and discover how the processing service would benefit their school foodservice operations.
The school lunch program was further enriched by NJDA's participation for the sixth consecutive year in a fresh fruit and vegetable purchase through the US Department of Defense. More than $400,000 worth of fresh produce, much of it locally grown and Jersey Fresh, was procured for student lunches.
All of the federally-donated foods NJDA receives, warehouses and distributes move through a commercial warehouse and trucking system that includes two separate warehousing operations and a variety of local carriers to pick up and deliver the commodities. NJDA supported this commercial distribution system through a user fee/per case charge. In FY01, this fee was increased for the first time in more than eight years from $2.15 per case to $2.35 per case. In addition, a per-case charge of $1.45 was reinstated for schools and other institutions who purchase foods processed through this program. The revenue generated through these fees paid all costs associated with the department's administration of the school lunch food distribution program.
Because of its excellent track record, NJDA was one of 13 food distribution agencies in the nation selected to participate in the USDA's National Commodity Re-engineering Pilot Project aimed at improving the national commodity distribution program. Through the pilot, NJDA will evaluate and implement a series of chicken processing and distribution concepts for federally-donated foods used in the National School Lunch Program. This project will evaluate such issues as standard product yields, use of commercial labels, and internet-based distribution/school ordering systems.