Where Have All the Farmers Gone?

The 2012 Census of Agriculture reported the existence of 9,071 farms in the Garden State. Since the previous 2007 Census had reported 10,327 farms, some in the ag community were quick to express concern over what the decline in NJ farm numbers meant, if anything.

Farmer-SHitchner-2006However, in thinking about farm numbers and the farm economy, accepting the 2007 USDA Census data at face value might be a mistake.

 
In 2007, USDA policy leadership and Congressional policy advocates wanted to portray the USA as a nation with rising numbers of small farms, urban and urban fringe farms, and farms operated by non-traditional operators. The Farm Bill policy campaign was called, “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” and its laudable goal was to connect people with local nutritious food and farmers who raise it. In an ever-consolidating, large-farm global marketplace, officials wanted to elevate economically viable local food system career opportunities and community development for young people. What better method than by manipulating Census reporting to reveal a rising number of small farm opportunities?
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Agritourism: On-Farm Breweries and Local Ingredients

Winter Malting Barley

Winter Malting Barley

Interested in learning about Rutgers Cooperative Extension malting grains research trials and hop variety evaluations?

Join us for a twilight meeting and field tour on June 22, 2016 at the Rutgers Snyder Research & Extension Farm in Pittstown, NJ.

Local crops as feedstocks for the craft brewery and distilleries movement is sweeping the US. It is a hot topic in the agriculture industry; new and existing growers are paying attention to potential opportunities for these products. Farm brewery and distillery operations are emerging NJ enterprises; farmers are investigating implementation. Rutgers Cooperative Extension members are assisting potential grower/suppliers with their new ventures via research and education.

What characteristics must products and your operation share to be successful? Those are the questions that need to be assessed through business planning, market research, crop production studies, and with the brewing/distilling process. The first Rutgers twilight meeting to be held in the field will be on June 22, 2016 at the Rutgers Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown. The evening will showcase malting grains research trials and a hop yard with variety evaluations. Look for details on this event soon. A day-long Farm Brewery and Distillery workshop is being prepared for the NJ Ag Convention in February 2017. Rutgers has a history of working with brewing and distilling crops as far back as the 1940’s. More up-to-date information to come from Rutgers NJAES.
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