New Jersey Farm Bureau News

Ag Matters Online

E-Verify legislation looms in the House

13 Mar 2015, Posted by admin in National News

Last week the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 1147, the Legal Workforce Act.   The bill  requires employers, including farm employers, to check the work eligibility of all future hires through the web-based E-Verify system.    NJFB contacted each NJ House member expressing our opposition, and asked that they oppose E-Verify legislation until comprehensive ag labor reforms are enacted.  The following are a few reasons  farm bureau opposes an E-Verify stand-alone bill, even if it included an exemption for agriculture:

1)      Farm Bureau opposes legislation that would mandate E-verify without providing agricultural employers access to a legal current workforce and a new temporary worker program. We will urge all members to vote “No” if such stand-alone E-Verify legislation is brought up in committee or on the floor of the House. We do not support an exemption for agriculture.

2)      An agriculture exemption does nothing to give agriculture stability in our labor force. Only legislation creating an agricultural worker program can do that.

3)      Agriculture employers want to play by the rules, but do not have access to a legal workforce. A carve-out only places a target on our backs throughout the political process and, once law, would make agriculture a target for ICE enforcement, being the only industry without mandatory E-Verify.

4)      In this political climate, farmers and ranchers have lost confidence that an ag carve-out would withstand the process to be signed into law. The practical implication of being subject to mandatory E-Verify without a workable solution to our labor needs is too devastating to the industry to risk advocating for an exemption without a solution.

5)      Also, if enforcement only moves we do not have confidence there will be an inclination to move legislation that addresses the ag labor crisis.

The delegates to the 100th State Agricultural Convention considered nearly 40 resolutions covering various policy issues.  Resolution titles are listed below.  (A new, separate resolution dealing with he issue of Soil Disturbance on Preserved Farms was also added.)  Information on the content of the resolutions can be obtained by calling the NJ Department of Agriculture.

  1. Hunger and Nutrition in NJ
  2. Definition of “Locally Grown”
  3. Labeling of Foods with Bio-Engineered Ingredients
  4. Farmland Preservation
  5. Microenterprises on Preserved Farms
  6. Neonicotinoid Insecticides
  7. Beekeeping and Right to Farm
  8. Pesticides
  9. Safe Food Products at Community Farmers Markets
  10. Low-Hanging Cables
  11. Animal Waste Management
  12. Farming on Public Lands
  13. NJDEP Active Farming Notice
  14. New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
  15. Use of Native Plants
  16. Wildlife and Agriculture
  17. Humane Treatment of Livestock
  18. Food Safety
  19. Right to Farm Program
  20. Agricultural Offset to Minimum Wage
  21. Agricultural Education
  22. Beekeeping and State Pre-emption
  23. Crop Insurance
  24. Dairy Industry
  25. Equine Industry
  26. Farmland Assessment
  27. Farm Labor
  28. Highlands Regional Master Plan
  29. Horseracing Industry
  30. Horticultural Therapy
  31. Land Use
  32. Pinelands
  33. Renewable Energy
  34. Senate Agriculture Committee
  35. Water
  36. Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries
  37. Staff Authorization

The New Jersey Farm Service Agency is partnering with Rutgers Extension Service to host producer meetings next month to inform the public of new programs offered by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Tuesday, JAN 6, 2015 @ 1pm (NAP)
Snyder Research and Extension Farm
140 Locust Grove Rd
Pittstown, NJ 08867
Contact: Doreen Beruck at (908) 782-4614 or doreen.beruck@nj.usda.gov

Wednesday, JAN 7, 2015 @ 9am (NAP)
Vineland Produce Auction
Vineland, NJ 08360
Contact: Angela Andreoli at (856) 205-1225 or angela.andreoli@nj.usda.gov

Wednesday, JAN 7, 2015 @ 1pm (NAP)
Salem County Extension
51 Cheney Rd
Woodstown, NJ 08098
Contact: Al DiBella at (856) 769-1126 or al.dibella@nj.usda.gov

Thursday, JAN 8, 2015 @ 10am (NAP)
Columbus FSA Office
1971 Jacksonville-Jobstown Rd
Columbus, NJ 08022
Contact: Nick Morolda at (609) 267-1639 or nick.morolda@nj.usda.gov

Thursday, JAN 8, 2015 @ 1pm (ARC/PLC & NAP)
Sussex County Extension
130 Morris Tpke
Newton, NJ 07860
Contact: Lindsay Caragher at (908) 852-2576 or lindsay.caragher@nj.usda.gov

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in these meetings should contact the individual listed as the contact for the applicable meeting, or the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 by January 2, 2015.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP): New coverage options are now available under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), which provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses, or prevents crop planting. Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price.

Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC): Rutgers Extension agents will demonstrate the online decision-making tools that are available to producers to help make important enrollment decisions regarding the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. Learning more about ARC and PLC is extremely important for producers who must make a one-time decision about base and yield updates as well as ARC or PLC election and enrollment decisions. An FSA representative will be in attendance to answer any questions on ARC and PLC policy and procedure.

The SADC recently heard a staff presentation about the development of a draft rule to define and limit soil disturbance on preserved farmland. This draft rule is the result of several years of work by a soil-disturbance sub-committee. The SADC staff believes a rule is necessary to give guidance to preserved farmland owners and clarify two clauses of the deed of easement: one which allows for the development of agricultural buildings, and another which aims to protect the soils on a preserved farm. This issue of soil disturbance on preserved lands surfaced a few years ago with a Hunterdon County greenhouse grower who started large-scale grading/cut and fill work in preparation for temporary hoop houses on a preserved farm.

Farm Bureau believes any rule will have a significant impact on preserved farmland in terms of development of agricultural buildings, including greenhouses and large equine facilities. The SADC will make the draft rule available for public review ahead of any an informal comment period. In January, the SADC will consider whether or not to approve a draft rule for further review. The draft presented to the SADC is available on the SADC website at https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/sadc/news/hottopics/index.html

NJFB policy opposes the adoption of a rule to address soil disturbance on preserved farmland, seeing it as an over step in interpreting the deed of easement that could threaten the future agricultural viability of a changing industry.

The New Jersey Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) will hold their first annual meeting on Sunday, November 16 at the Princeton Westin in Forrestal Village.

Click here to see the full YF&R 2014 annual meeting agenda.

Presentation topics will include farm business planning, microloan opportunities, advocacy and legislative issues. We will also discuss the upcoming FUSION conference in Nashville, TN, and hold officer elections.

The meeting will include lunch, which is complimentary, thanks to our generous sponsors. Because we’re serving a meal, we do need an accurate head count. If you haven’t already done so, please let us know you are coming! You may do so by calling 609-393-7163 or by email at debbiep@njfb.org.

We look forward to seeing you on the 16th!

Attention Equine Enthusiasts

31 Oct 2014, Posted by admin in Meetings and Events

The Equine Science Center is hosting a special screening of the new documentary “Riding My Way Back” on November 11 at The State Theater from 7:30-9:00PM. The film by Academy Award winner Robin Fryday features how horses helped a veteran overcome suicidal tendencies after returning from war. The film’s producer and star will be present for a panel discussion after the film screening.

Riding My Way Back Flyer1

A bill to ban the use of gestation crates in New Jersey is awaiting action by the Governor. Governor Christie vetoed similar legislation during the last legislative session.

The Star Ledger published an editorial recently, pushing for the Governor to reverse himself and sign this version. Click here to read the Star Ledger Editorial

Click here to read NJFB’s letter to the editor on this issue.