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New Jersey Farm Bureau News

Ag Matters Online

As farms that market direct to the consumer they can be open. The farm owner/manager sets the conditions for those visits. The order for entertainment and exhibitions, fairs and shows means all events are cancelled!

It is recommended for the next 10-14 days that horse owners with no direct care responsibilities avoid going to the farm. 

Access can be permitted for horse owners to come care for and work with their animals if that has been part of the stabling agreement.  Farms should set up schedules and limit the number of persons on the farm at any given time. (10 people and under rule is good here) Horse owners should respect the farms limits and guidelines.

The owner or their designee should be the only person to come and work or care for the horse, Families should not all come and visit as a group.

Hand washing and equipment sanitizing should be practiced by all visitors to the farm.

Workers employed by the farm, as well as farriers and other contractors are also able to work and come to a farm. These people need to follow the social distancing rules and respect the operational hours of the farm owner.

The American Horse Council has posted more detailed information about the responsibilities of horse owners and those visiting equine operations fined that information here:

https://www.horsecouncil.org/covid-19-resouces/

As we expect COVID-19 case numbers to grow over the next week this is a prudent recommendation. Farm owners/operators should begin working on plans for owners to see their animals and begin riding as soon as practical. They should work on schedules and protocols to continue social distancing even as they try to return regular business. 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board today approved a suite of new programs designed to support businesses and workers facing economic hardship due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
 
The package of initiatives includes a grant program for small businesses, a zero-interest loan program for mid-size companies, support for private-sector lenders and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), funding for entrepreneurs, and a variety of resources providing technical support and marketplace information. Taken together, they will provide more than $75 million of State and private financial support, with the opportunity to grow to more than $100 million if additional philanthropic, State, and federal resources become available. The initiatives will support between 3,000 and 5,000 small and midsize enterprises and are meant to complement recently announced federal economic recovery initiatives.

Click here for more information.

Actions taken by NJ are also being taken by The governors of NY and Connecticut  the goal is a regional approach to this outbreak.

On Monday March 16 Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 104 to mitigate further spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey a copy of the Executive Order (EO) is here  https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-104.pdf

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Murphy’s executive order directs:

– All gatherings of persons in the State of New Jersey shall be limited to 50 persons or fewer, with limited exceptions;

– All public, private, and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, will be closed beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and remain closed as long as the Order remains in effect;

– Institutions of higher education will cease all in-person instruction beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and shall cease such in-person instruction as long as the Order remains in effect;

– All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers will be closed to the public beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. and remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect;

– All other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.; and

– All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor or limited brewery license, are limited to offering delivery and/or take out-services only.

On Tuesday (3-17-20) evening the order was expanded to:

– All indoor portions of retail shopping malls. Restaurants and other stores located within shopping malls that have their own external entrances open to the public, separate from the general mall entrance, may remain open as long as they comply with prior directives on operating hours and takeout or food delivery services.  

– All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children’s attractions.  

The Administrative Order does not apply to public parks and open recreation areas.

On Thursday (3-19-20) the order was expanded to include the The closure of all personal-care businesses and social clubs which cannot comply with social distancing guidelines, until further notice, including:
• Barber shops
• Hair salons
• Spas
• Nail and eyelash salons
• Tattoo parlors

The most important part of EO104 is the preemption of Local regulations –

No municipality, county, or any other agency or political subdivision of this State shall enact or enforce any order, rule, regulation, ordinance, or resolution which will or might in any way conflict with any of the provisions of this Executive Order, or which will in any way interfere with or impede its achievement.

This means that the state-wide regulations over businesses are the ones to be followed if you have specific question there is the business action center website that can address your business concerns.

For agriculture businesses Farm Markets, Pet/feed supply stores, nurseries, garden centers, florists you can all operate as long as you open after 5am and close before 8pm. You must also limit building access to no more than 50 customers and encourage social distancing 6 feet from each other.  This is important as obeying the rules is what will keep these businesses open.

For employees hours can be different than those for the public for restocking and shipping of product in and out of a business.

The Federal Government as also activated the Small Business Administration to offer low interest lows to businesses to get through the crisis. Their information and programs are on their website. Please review them to see if they can help your business. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

Survey Reveals that Statewide Deer Numbers are Out of Balance

New Jersey Farm Bureau, the state’s largest non-governmental agriculture advocacy organization, has announced the results of a technologically advanced study commissioned to assess white-tailed deer populations in eight New Jersey counties. The report concluded that deer densities per square mile are on the average 4-5 times greater than safe and sustainable numbers. In one case, the deer density was ten times the safe and sustainable number.

The survey, conducted by wildlife habitat planning and management consultancy Steward Green, was performed in April 2019. Using drone-based thermal imaging technology, trained wildlife biologists and infrared analysts performed an in-the-field analysis to estimate deer populations in seven study areas encompassing more than 12,730 acres, or approximately 20 square miles. The areas surveyed were in Atlantic, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset, and Warren counties.

Steward Green’s survey conclusively revealed that there are, on average, approximately 80-100 white-tailed deer per square mile in the areas covered by the study.

“Many biologists, ecologists, and environmental experts agree that a healthy and sustainable deer density is far below what we found, some say it is as low as five to fifteen deer per square mile,” said Gene Huntington, RLA LEED AP, Steward Green’s founder and lead consultant, who explained that the region’s deer have no natural predators. “All areas surveyed in this study are severely overpopulated, leading to economic loss from crop/landscape damage, automobile collisions, an increased risk of Lyme disease, as well as the continuation of depleted habitats that threaten New Jersey’s forest lands and other native wildlife.”

“We are grateful to the experts at Steward Green for compiling these important statistics, and for their ongoing efforts to manage conservation and wildlife concerns in the Garden State,” said Ryck Suydam, President of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. “The State of New Jersey is responsible for adequately managing the state’s deer herd. The current population of white-tailed deer in New Jersey has become an epidemic and stronger action needs to be taken to bring it back into balance.”

Click here to read the full report.