Farm Calls: Advising Beginning Farmers Who Set Their Sights on Jersey Soil

Theresa Viggiano and Patrick Leger of First Field

Theresa Viggiano and Patrick Leger
of First Field

Hunterdon County farmer Susan Blew gets a kick out of telling young people who want to get into farming: “The only path into farming successfully in New Jersey is the womb, groom, or the tomb.” It’s funny but too true at the same time – the cost of land is a huge barrier to entry for those starting out in our state.

Despite this hurdle, entrepreneurs still choose to give Jersey farming a shot. Advising them is what makes extension work rewarding. For example, Theresa Viggiano and Patrick Leger, owners of First Field, are beginning farmers who have turned their sweat equity into an enterprise to be proud of – their Jersey Ketchup and Jersey Relish products are sold  in NJ, NY, and Connecticut.

Recently, I was contacted by a father whose son is returning to New Jersey to farm with his fiance. They have experience working for the past 4 years on a large organic farm CSA in the West that grew from a 35 customer base to over 300. It’s encouraging to see family willingness to help with a grubstake; invest in the young couples’ venture. The father is a professional and “has some capital and can’t think of a more rewarding investment” than his son’s dream.

Their questions revolve around how a beginning farmer gets started in New Jersey.
[Read more…]

Seed Heat-Treatment:
A Management Strategy for Controlling Bacterial Diseases

Bacterial Canker on Tomato

Bacterial Canker on Tomato

Seed heat-treatment is one cultural practice that prevents infected seed from resulting in losses to bacterial disease in the field. [Read more…]

Successful Urban Fringe Farmers
Know More than Just How to Grow Crops

This month in the Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe Newsletter, we look at the skills growers in our state are required to have in order to be successful. View the Newsletter

Mark Carduner, owner of Working Dog Vineyard and Winery in Hightstown, explains vertical trellising, judicious herbicide use, disease and canopy management customized to each varietal. Discussion topics relevant to his urban fringe location included wonderful customer clientele and supportive community, but also bird damage, neighbor communication, herbicide drift precautions, marketing challenges, and occasional air quality impacts from proximity to NJ Turnpike.

Your Footprints in Our Fields: Farm Internships

The world has serious problems to solve and it needs your help. Sustaining agriculture to provide quality food, fiber, and landscape beauty for our planet is about training new farmers, and more. Farmers require a variety of support systems to be successful. Knowledge of agriculture is integral to a wide range of careers. Rutgers is dedicated to providing individuals with the tools to solve the difficult problems facing our state, nation, and world.

Interested in being part of the solution to major world problems? Come get your hands dirty with us.

Bonos_Stacy__Miscanthus_2Our students and farm interns come from diverse backgrounds and go on to serve the changing needs of agriculture and all related fields. As active participants in cutting-edge research and its direct application, they gain character building experiences, comprehensive knowledge, leadership skills, and develop life long relationships. [Read more…]