The Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources is responsible for a variety of services and programs that maintain and enhance the viability of New Jersey agriculture and related agribusinesses.
Land Use Planning IssuesOne of the primary responsibilities of the Division is interagency coordination and assistance in the development of policy positions on land use planning issues. Division staff represents the Department on the State Planning Commission and its subcommittees. Staff also reviews proposed and existing regulations and legislation and monitors municipal actions that have the potential to enhance or diminish the viability of agriculture.
State Soil Conservation Committee and Soil Conservation DistrictsThe Division also administers policies and programs to conserve and develop the state’s soil, water and related natural resources on agricultural and urban lands through NJDA’s State Soil Conservation Committee (SSCC) and the 16 local soil conservation districts (SCDs) in partnership with other federal and state agencies. Division staff address issues including non-point source pollution control, sludge application, recycling, waste management and water resources. Through the SSCC, the Division establishes standards and oversees the SCDs’ implementation of programs regulating land disturbances for the control of soil erosion; sedimentation; and authorizes storm water discharges.
Cost-Share Assistance to Farmers for Soil and Water Conservation ProjectsThe Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources administers programs that provide financial cost-share assistance to farmers for soil and water conservation projects that prevent or control pollution. The Division oversees watershed studies related to the development of storm water models to address water quality issues. Conservation education programs are conducted in conjunction with conservation partners to educate school students about the importance of natural resource conservation.
Office of Aquaculture CoordinationWorks cooperatively with other state and federal agencies in the development of business-friendly and environmentally sound policy framework to accelerate the growth of aquatic farming. Aquaculture provides a number of positive benefits including access to a safe and plentiful food supply, enhancement of natural resources, reduction of fishing pressure on fish stocks and development of an economic stimulus in communities that have been economically stressed by loss of employment opportunities.
Technical and Market Development Assistance to Fish and Seafood IndustriesWorking with New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services, the program provides training and assistance to seafood harvesters, wholesalers and retailers in the implementation of food safety and security programs. Cooperative programs with the Commerce and Economic Growth Commission allow New Jersey seafood companies to reach global markets through trade promotion initiatives. An important aspect of this work is the development of value-added products that can bring new employment opportunities to fishing communities and increase the value of our harvest.
Agricultural EducationThe Agricultural Education program is responsible for providing statewide leadership, resources and services for quality food, agriculture and environmental science education programs in local school districts. The program administers grant initiatives for schools delivering agricultural education, professional development for teachers, the FFA organization (educational organization for students enrolled in secondary agricultural education program), and application processes for students to develop their work-based learning.
New Jersey Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)Through a joint federal-state program, NASS collects and distributes essential agricultural production data and conducts special surveys and studies for the industry.