|Annual Report 1998|
The Jersey Fresh infomercials coincided with commodity availability and featured Secretary Brown offering information about selection, storage, nutritional value and preparation. At more than 500 of their favorite markets throughout the tri-state area, consumers could identify Jersey Fresh farm products through price cards, banners, bin wrap, stickers and posters.
In addition to these traditional, colorful point-of-purchase items, produce buyers for major retail chains also received a variety of advertising materials to support Jersey Fresh promotions in their stores throughout the growing season, including graphics packages on CD for use in print ads.
The innovative CDs gave retailers a choice of several configurations of the Jersey Fresh logo, as well as product pictures, retail information, and recipe suggestions. Radio was revisited at the end of the fiscal year with the department sponsoring weekend traffic reports for the shore areas of New Jersey. On-air announcers reminded listeners of Jersey Fresh products in season and encouraged them to stop at farm markets on the way home from the shore to stock up on fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
During the growing season, the department joined promotional forces with the New Jersey Peach Council, the Vegetable Growers' Association of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Blueberry Council to revitalize the popular Jersey Fresh sampling program. More than 120 stores were visited during the season, enabling tens of thousands of shoppers to sample seasonal Jersey Fresh products available in the produce section of the store that day.
Throughout the summer, print advertisements ran in major magazines and daily newspapers serving the tri-state area as well as in national trade papers to keep Jersey Fresh produce in the minds of retail buyers and over six million consumers alike.
During the year, $150,000 in Jersey Fresh matching grants were awarded to 64 New Jersey agricultural organizations to create advertising and promotional programs worth well over $300,000. Recipient agricultural organizations used their grants to incorporate the Jersey Fresh program in promotional efforts tailored to meet their specific marketing needs.
Special events played an important role in presenting Jersey Fresh to consumers in different and interesting ways, ranging from the 14th annual Vineland Jersey Fresh Festival in Cumberland County to regional festivals, county fairs, wine tastings and food shows. There was even a special Jersey Fresh horse-and-carriage driving hazard at the annual National Driving Championships in Gladstone, Somerset County, which was seen by thousands of on-site spectators and millions of television viewers.
The department also worked closely with community organizations in the state's urban areas to further the development of 35 farmers' markets. Held several times a week, the markets attracted farmers who welcomed the additional marketing opportunities and enthusiastic customers who appreciated the friendly, informal outlets for locally- grown produce in their towns. Governor Christie Whitman's proclamation of September as "Farm Market Month" highlighted the role of these markets in the revitalization of downtown areas now re- emerging as business centers.
Many of the vendors at the urban farmers' markets joined their counterparts around the state in the fourth year of the WIC/Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). A joint venture between NJDA, the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and USDA, the FMNP distributed $93,000 worth of checks to over 4,600 Head Start children, pregnant or nursing women. These checks were redeemed for fresh fruit and vegetables at more than 90 authorized roadside markets and 30 farmers' markets throughout the state. This important program offers another venue for the sale of farm products while giving thousands of nutritionally at-risk children and women a convenient, affordable way to add fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets.
NJDA and DHSS also remained partners in the 5-A-Day for Better Health program. This year the 5-A-Day Coalition was reorganized. Comprised of representatives from both departments as well as individuals from the health services and retail food industries, the coalition will work to promote to New Jersey residents the nutritional benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables.
Improving the nutritional content of school lunches was the focus of NJDA's continuing cooperative effort with the U.S. Department of Defense (USDOD) and the USDA. Funding for the project was provided by the USDA as part of New Jersey's $15 million school lunch entitlement. Under this project, NJDA used the USDOD's tremendous purchasing power to buy $400,000 worth of fruits and vegetables. Over one-third of this amount was spent on Jersey Fresh produce for distribution to children through the school lunch program. All told, more than 700 recipient agencies shared thousands of cases of tomatoes, cucumbers and peaches grown in the Garden State.
The department's successful international trade development program continued to support the export and promotion of New Jersey's agricultural products and processed foods in many nations around the world. Through a multi-tiered export education and resource support network, NJDA helps companies with every facet of their export experience, from their first export contact to foreign sales maintenance.
Participation in both domestic and international trade shows is key to the development and maintenance of any company's successful export program. Accordingly, NJDA works closely with state, federal and regional export development agencies to encourage and underwrite exhibits at such venues for New Jersey food companies and agricultural producers.
With over $25 million worth of fruits and vegetables shipped from Garden State farms to Canada every year, our northern neighbor ranks as the single largest export market for New Jersey farm products. In an effort to maintain and expand that significant market, this year the department sponsored a Jersey Fresh exhibit at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association trade show in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Visits to Canada's wholesale and retail produce industry underscored the availability of New Jersey's many fruits and vegetables during the growing season.
The department also helped 12 New Jersey companies exhibit at the 1998 U.S. Food Export Showcase in Chicago, Illinois, in the spring. The show is the country's largest supermarket trade exposition as well as America's largest international trade show for food and agricultural products. More than 30,000 domestic supermarket buyers and 7,000 foreign buyers visited companies in the New Jersey pavilion during the three-day event.
In addition, NJDA coordinated the participation of seven mid-sized food processors and distributors in the ANUGA trade show in Cologne, Germany, this year. ANUGA is the world's largest international food show where 6,000 exhibitors attracted more than 200,000 international buyers. New Jersey companies attending the six-day trade show toured German retail food stores and met with numerous European food product importers.
As a member state of the Eastern United States Agricultural and Food
Export Council, NJDA distributed $926,310 in federal Market Access Program
(MAP) export development grants to 21 New Jersey food companies.
MAP, a matched funds foreign market development program, enabled the companies to expand their sales in over 25 different international markets.
The Market News Service, a cooperative federal-state venture, provides a readily accessible source of unbiased and reliable agricultural market information for New Jersey's growers and buyers.
Because access to more and better marketing information helps New Jersey growers to be more competitive, the Market News Service collects price and supply information from the Vineland Produce Auction by laptop computer. This data is then transmitted to the Bridgeton Market News Office. From there, the information goes out to New Jersey growers, farm marketers and county agents via fax, e-mail and telephone.
Faxed reports continued to grow in popularity, showing an increase of 15 percent over FY97. Even with nearly 23,000 individual reports distributed electronically, the service still logged 15,000 phone inquiries during the year. These reports, along with 700 other USDA market news reports, are also available on the internet at www.ams.usda.gov/marketnews.htm. Reports cover local, regional, national and even international markets for fruits, vegetables, grain, livestock, poultry, eggs, dairy, tobacco, cotton and specialty crops.
Fairs and Shows
The 20 agricultural fairs, certified as such by NJDA, hosted well over one million visitors in FY98. Residents of the Garden State and tourists from around the country always enjoy the variety of competitions, food, amusements and countless agricultural displays offered. Agriculture, agribusiness and agriculture education play an important part in each fair. NJDA continues to offer organizers technical assistance as well as special exhibits and promotional materials.
Horse Breeding and Development
The Horse Breeding and Development Program supports the state's growing pleasure horse industry through a variety of programs, including breeder incentive awards, youth programs, educational clinics, Girl and Boy Scout badge programs, and other equine activities. Through these efforts, both children and adults learn to appreciate all that the horse industry offers to the state's individual horse fanciers and to New Jersey's economy and quality of life.
The Horse Breeding and Development Program provides financial support for the pleasure horse industry through the New Jersey Bred All Breed Horse Show, which presented awards valued at $33,500 in FY98, and through the Non-Racing Breeder Awards program. The latter was valued at $85,000 this year as a result of the strong continued support of the program and the industry.
In providing these services, the department seeks the advice of the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board (EAB), a unit of NJDA, which is composed of 48 members representing 14 different breed group organizations plus additional agricultural interests.
New Jersey's equine and agriculture industries were both highlighted during the 1997 Equine Expo in Gladstone. The event was held in conjunction with the 1997 Gladstone Driving Event, the middle jewel in the EquiSilk Triple Crown of Pairs Driving. During the Equine Expo a variety of educational clinics were presented by NJDA, the EAB and the Gladstone Equestrian Association. These clinics were geared towards Girl Scouts' horse lover, horse sense and/or horseback rider badges, Boy Scouts' animal science (horse) badge and to members of pony clubs, 4-H clubs and FFA. Additional Expo activities for both days included presentations on the different breeds of horses; various workshops covering horse health care, grooming and showmanship; and a petting farm.
Horse Park of New Jersey
The 147-acre Horse Park of New Jersey at Stone Tavern in Monmouth County is the result of years of cooperative effort involving the horse industry, state government and private not-for-profit organizations. The Horse Park of New Jersey, Inc., is a not-for- profit entity which operates the Horse Park under contract with NJDA.
In FY98, the Park marked its tenth year of operation with more than 76 days of activities scheduled from March through November. The year closed on a bright note with the dedication of the new covered grandstand and vendor area near the east show ring. Future development plans include extensive work on the outside hunt course and event course and planning for the covered work area and indoor arena outlined in the Horse Park's master plan.
Since its opening, the Park has hosted 1.2 million visitors and competitors and proven itself as one of the area's most important economic assets. Show dates, including the 1999 Regional Dressage Championships, have been reserved well into the year 2000.
New Jersey Sire Stakes
New Jersey sired Standardbreds have long been at the forefront of the industry when yearly honors were announced and the 1997 racing season proved to be no exception when $1,000,000 Hambletonian winner MALABAR MAN was named 1997 Harness Horse of the Year by the United States Trotting Association (USTA) in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). In the past 16 years, 14 Harness Horses of the Year were either New Jersey sired or stallions who later went to stud in New Jersey.
MALABAR MAN, a son of SUPERGILL, was a sensational three-year-old colt trotter who graduated from the New Jersey Sire Stakes Fair Program where he was undefeated as a two-year-old. In the 1997 season, he won 13 of 16 starts, earning $1,679,862. His other wins included the $100,000 Sire Stakes Championship Final at The Meadowlands and a season-ending victory in the $594,000 Breeders Crown.
In addition to being named Harness Horse of the Year, he was also honored by USTA/USHWA as Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter of the Year and as Trotter of the Year. He also swept the state Sire Stakes awards at the end of the season, being named Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year, Sire Stakes Horse of the Year and New Jersey Standardbred of the Year.
MALABAR MAN was bred and is owned by Malvern Burroughs of Flemington, who, behind MALABAR MAN, became the first amateur driver to win the Hambletonian in the race's 49-year history.
Several other New Jersey sired performers also earned year-end honors in the USTA/USHWA poll, including two-year-old pacer SEALED N DELIVERED (sired by FALCON SEELSTER), who took top honors in his division, and his filly counterpart CLOVER HANOVER (sired by NO NUKES) who captured the championship in her division.
STEINAM's PLACE (sired by ARTSPLACE) was the top three-year-old filly pacer on the continent, winning in the Jugette and the Breeders Crown, while the older pacing mare MYSTICAL MADDY (sired by MATT's SCOOTER) won the honors in her division.
The New Jersey Sire Stakes Program and related programs were worth $10,128,203 in 1997. Over $6.7 million in purses were available at the pari-mutuel tracks plus another $599,800 in fair events. The reminder came from restricted overnight (non-stakes) races and breeder awards.
New Jersey sired yearlings continued to bring top dollar at the fall yearlings sales where 939 yearlings were sold for a total of $22,120,500, an average of $23,558, well over the national average of $14,972. The total for New Jersey sired yearlings amounted to almost 37 percent of all yearlings sold in the United States in 1997.
Of the 23 Standardbred yearlings who sold for $150,000 or more in 1997, 12 were by New Jersey sires. Of the 12, ten were sired by VALLEY VICTORY whose 32 yearlings sold at public auction for an average $129,781. Another over-$150,000 yearling was by the leading pacing sire ARTSPLACE. Both stallions stand at Southwind Farm in Pennington. The remaining $150,000 yearling was by MATT's SCOOTER who stands at Perretti Farms in Cream Ridge.
Racing Industry Study
The Racing Industry Study Commission appointed last year by Governor Whitman analyzed the needs of the horse racing industry this year, after examining statutes and regulations, in-state competition for the gambling dollar and legislation in neighboring states that impacts the economic growth and prosperity of New Jersey's horse racing industry.
With a membership that included the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives from the Thoroughbred and Standardbred associations, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, racetrack permit holders and others, the Commission brought a wide range of experience to the task.
Following a series of public hearings, combined with a review of racing in the Garden State, the Commission recommended that the Governor and State Legislature allow the Legislature to regulate racing, authorize account wagering, adopt limited off-track betting locations, consider allowing live racing operations the option of operating as off-track betting sites and provide at least $20 million annually to augment racetrack purses and other horse industry programs and activities, including an annual revenue contribution for the support of compulsive gambling services in New Jersey. The Commission also suggested pursuit of other regulatory reforms and initiatives.
NJDA administers the federally-sponsored donated commodity distribution program, through which a variety of foods reach over 700 eligible recipients, including school districts, summer feeding programs and institutions. This program also serves in excess of 250,000 needy families through NJDA's needy feeding program. In FY98 the department once again accepted New Jersey's fair-share entitlement of these federally-donated foods and met its acceptance goals for all program categories served.
NJDA accepted almost 28 million pounds of USDA foods with a commercial value of more than $16 million for use in a variety of feeding programs other than The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). These commodities were particularly important to the school lunch program, which provided monthly allocations of frozen, canned and dry foods to more than 2,200 schools throughout New Jersey feeding over 500,000 students daily.
The department worked with 28 commercial food processors to process approximately 6 million pounds of foods into more easily used, cost- effective, oven-ready products such as hamburgers, sandwich steaks, pizza, and a variety of turkey and chicken products. This planned and monitored conversion of bulk foods increased the value-added usefulness of federally-donated foods and helped local school districts reduce preparation time and purchase costs.
The commercial conversion of these donated foods was enhanced through the implementation and refinement of the processor selection system (PSS), which allowed recipient school districts to select foods to be processed before the start of the new school year. Both processors and schools were able to make better use of donated foods. Moreover, the system encouraged competitive pricing, improved delivery time and ensured greater consistency in product quality.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
During FY98, federal program budget increases for TEFAP meant an increase of 800,000 pounds in foods allocated to TEFAP, enabling New Jersey to receive over 7.6 million pounds of TEFAP food. These foods were distributed through the six non-profit emergency feeding agencies to food banks, hot meal sites and pantry feeding sites which served more than 225,000 of the Garden State's neediest citizens. Typical of the 40 different federally-donated foods were canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, rice, instant dry milk, pasta, cereal, fruit juice and frozen beef.
Throughout the year, the department worked on development and implementation of a revised software program to serve the School Lunch Program, TEFAP and PSS. Improved data processing services were necessary to control costs, increase efficiency, and update NJDA's food distribution programs. Using cutting-edge technology, the new data system will enable the program to meet current reporting requirements. System improvements were funded through a monthly assessment to school districts and federal funds combined with program cost reductions achieved through improved management. The program will be fully operational in the fall of 1998.
Child Nutrition Programs
In July 1997, the Bureau of Child Nutrition Programs (BCNP) moved to NJDA from the Department of Education making NJDA the first state agriculture department in the nation to include child nutrition programs within its responsibilities. In its new home, BCNP enjoyed a very successful year as both the number of participating sponsors and the average number of meals served per day statewide increased compared to last year.
BCNP is responsible for reimbursing to sponsor organizations more than $175 million in federal funds authorized for five child nutrition programs C National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, Child and Adult Day Care and Summer Food Service. Sponsoring organizations include public and non-public schools, residential and non-residential child care institutions, day care centers, adult day care centers, family day care homes, recreation centers and other agencies that qualify for federal and state child nutrition funds.
The bureau's primary responsibilities are developing, disseminating, evaluating and approving all pertinent program documents required for participation in the programs; providing technical assistance in implementation; facilities improvement; food service methods and overall program effectiveness to sponsors of child nutrition programs; on-site monitoring of programs for compliance with state and federal regulations; and providing financial assistance.
Coordination of program operations and communications with the Food Distribution Section was eased by BCNP's transfer to NJDA. In addition, BCNP is able to communicate more effectively with the sponsoring organizations and continues to explore many new initiatives in all of its child nutrition programs, thanks to its organizational proximity to other food distribution programs and the Jersey Fresh program.
BCNP's Summer Food Service Program, which began at the end of the fiscal year, was expected to serve 1.4 million breakfasts, 1.9 million lunches, 112,000 dinners and 210,000 supplements to over 63,000 eligible children a day at 1,136 feeding locations statewide. This is a significant increase over the number of feeding locations available last year (1,007). This year's sites were sponsored by 109 organizations, including schools, municipal governments, residential camps and non-profit private organizations.
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