Commercial Ag Updates + Farm Food Safety
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Ag Agents provide updates on what they see in the field, upcoming events, and other important news that affects your operation, such as developments in on-farm Food Safety. Subscribe if you wish to be notified about workshops, meetings, and upcoming commercial ag events.
Subscriptions are available via EMAIL and RSS.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
March 10, 2017 Bob Considine (609) 292-2994
www.nj.gov/dep Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
|DEP, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TEAM UP TO ALLOW FARMERS TO PROTECT FLOWERING CROPS AGAINST DEEP FREEZE THIS WEEKEND
(17/ P16) TRENTON – With the state expected to plunge into a deep freeze tonight and for the next several days, the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Agriculture are working cooperatively to allow farmers to do controlled open burning or use specialized torches known as smudge pots to protect flowering crops from damage.
Temperatures are expected to drop into the low 20s and upper teens tonight in southern New Jersey and dip to as low as 11 degrees in northern parts of the state, with more of the same through the weekend. Highs during the weekend are expected to be in the low 30s in southern New Jersey and mid-20s in the northern part of the state.
This freeze follows unusually warm temperatures in recent weeks that coaxed some economically important fruit tree crops to bud much earlier than normal. The DEP has approved the use of smudge pots and open burns through at least Monday.
Peach, blueberry and apple crops are particularly susceptible. Damage from freezing weather now can significantly reduce yields of these crops later in the season.
The DEP and Department of Agriculture are allowing these steps to protect farmers’ livelihoods and to ensure that consumers will be able to enjoy an ample supply of Jersey produce later this year. New Jersey is among the nation’s leaders in blueberry and peach production. Blueberry production is focused in the Pinelands of Burlington County.
Peach orchards can be found throughout the state, with Gloucester County ranking among the nation’s leaders in peach production. New Jersey also sustains a vibrant apple industry, with orchards found around the state.
Farmers who believe they will need to conduct open burns and/or use smudge pots must provide notice to the DEP’s 24-hour Communications Center at 1-877- WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337).
Notification to DEP does not require the implementation of either technique but ensures proper procedures are followed should they become necessary.
If a farmer does not call DEP in advance but uses either technique, the farmer must notify DEP by 9 a.m. the following day. The farmer will be asked which technique was used.
Farmers must record the incident number provided to them by the Communications Center. The following information is to be provided:
At the time of the initial call to the Communications Center, farmers will be given an email address and incident number. Within two days, they must submit to DEP via this email address the following information:
No open burning will be permitted unless the temperature within the orchard area is at or below the critical temperature for the bud stage for that crop and wind velocity is less than 5mph. Smudge pots must be fueled only with either kerosene or No. 2 fuel oil.
Open burning can consist only of either the following materials: clean and untreated scrap lumber, felled trees, clippings pruned from trees and shrubs, hedgerows or firewood. Absolutely no refuse, trade waste, tires or garbage of any type may be added to the authorized open burning material.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Hunterdon County Complex
314 State Route 12, Bldg. #1
Flemington, New Jersey 08822
Pre-registration by Friday February 24, 2017 (required for luncheon and educational handouts)
The NJ State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) recently dedicated $500,000 of funding for 50% cost-share grants to farmers for installing high tensile woven-wire fencing on permanently preserved farms. The cost share applies to fencing materials and installation. An applicant can apply for a cost-share of up to $200/acre, with a total award amount capped at $20,000. As a ballpark estimate: accounting for the farmer’s 50% contribution, the maximum level of funding would support fence installation around roughly 20+ acres.
To be eligible for the program: [Read more…]
Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension is continuing its Ultra-Niche Crop Series with the upcoming workshop “Specialty Peppers”. This workshop, the fourth class for farmers seeking new crop opportunities, will be held on March 7, 2017 from 5:30 to 8 PM, simultaneously in Cape May Court House, Bordentown and Bridgewater, New Jersey.