Ag Matters


What is the Farm Bill?
And Why Does It Matter to Us All?

The farm bill is a package of legislation passed roughly once every five years that has a tremendous impact on not just farmers, but all citizens in many different ways. There have been 18 farm bills, with the first enacted in the 1930s.  The current law, called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2023, and discussions about the 2023 farm bill have already begun.


A Quiet Leader in Soil Conservation

Sometimes thought of as working in the “shadows” of state government, soil conservation districts and the State Soil Conservation Committee (SSCC) play an outsized role in natural resource regulation in New Jersey. Soil district managers, like Glen Van Olden of the Hudson-Essex-Passaic District, interact with developers and farmers alike on a constant basis. Profiling Glen, who also serves as the Farm Bureau director from Essex County, yields a perspective of soil protection in action.


Is New Jersey Ag Illiterate?

Today’s New Jersey consumer is three generations removed from the farm. What does that mean?

They don’t think they have any connection to agriculture. Growing up in Bergen County, I certainly didn’t connect my lifestyle to Rural America. Being a commuter town for New York City, the lure of the city and its perks occupied my mainstream thought patterns; not hedgerows with foxes and their cubs or raising Valais sheep (look them up: Valais Blacknose sheep: https://virginiavalaisblacknose.com). So I have to say, these consumers come by it honestly. So let’s give them a break!


New Jersey Young Farmer Competes in San Juan

Former NJ YFAP Chair and Somerset County farmer Shannon Oiler represented the Garden State in the national Excellence in Agriculture competition at the AFBF convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Shannon is the farm manager at Norz Hill Farm in Hillsborough, NJ.  Shannon and her fellow competitors from around the country were evaluated on their understanding of agricultural issues, leadership experiences and achievement, and their ability to communicate their agricultural story.  



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