Effective Political Communications

Farmers_go_to_TrentonIt is important that farmers be involved in policy decisions at the local, state, and federal level because quite often those charged with making policy do not farm and may not realize the impact their actions have on the viability of farms in our state.

Farm families feel frustration toward government institutions that seem unresponsive on a range of issues, from crushing regulatory burden relief, to agritourism legislation affecting the hosting of lifecycle events, to inadequate access to educational outreach programming.

The way to cope is to get engaged and get heard. Effective communication with elected officials allows you to be heard on issues affecting your ability to farm. [Read more…]

Farm Calls: Exploring Exotic Mushroom Cultivation

This week Extension Agent Amy Rowe fields a question from a grower interested in getting into the commercial production of mushrooms.

Sustainable ag farms summer tour with NE SARE USDA projects NY State Cornell
“Where can I find information on cultivating shiitake, maitake, and several oyster varieties (blue, white, and pink)?”


[Read more…]

Farm Calls: Growers Ask for Recommendations on
Applying Hardwood Chips to Cropland

Wood-Chips-Cropland-ApplicationJune 30, 2012 a Derecho windstorm cut a path over Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain farming areas, downing thousands of trees.

The area received a federal disaster declaration and crews are clearing trees and chipping. Atlantic County Extension Ag Agent Rick VanVranken has been fielding a number of calls from vegetable and hay growers about the use of hardwood chips on cropland. [Read more…]

Real Issues in the Decline of Mid-size Farms

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and
you’re a thousand miles from a cornfield.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

An Essay on the Political Economy of NJ Farming

The most recent Census of Agriculture shows the loss of America’s mid-sized farms even as the number of large and small size farms are increasing. Loss of the “ag-in-the-middle” does threaten the stability and productivity of our farm-to-fork food system. Many have weighed in proposing solutions to saving family farms – but often the agenda gets hijacked by those who plow with their pencil and are a thousand miles from a cornfield.
[Read more…]