Despite having the highest population density of any state, New Jersey is called the Garden State for a reason. Our farmers produce fresh, abundant quantities of some of the nation’s most popular fruits and vegetables, which help keep our families healthy and generate more than $1 billion for the state’s economy.
In fact, New Jersey ranks among the top four states in the production of blueberries, cranberries, peppers, peaches, spinach, and head lettuce and is also a major producer of tomatoes, corn, apples, strawberries, potatoes, hay, soybeans and nursery stock.
During the 2012 Farm Bill debate, Senator Menendez fought to ensure specialty crop growers remain eligible for federal assistance and rural areas receive the economic development funds they deserve. He fought back against cuts to the most needy and vulnerable, while closing loopholes that allowed lottery winners to receive food stamps. The Senator also supported the promotion of healthy and fresh locally grown foods in New Jersey through farmers’ markets, school lunch and other nutrition programs.
- Feeding Hungry Families. Opposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in the 2012 Farm Bill. Senator Menendez believes that a society is best judged on how well it takes care of its most vulnerable members. That is why he has been a supporter of SNAP to help families put food on the table so children don’t go to bed hungry. He has also supported TEFAP, which provides commodity foods to organizations that distribute directly to low-income and unemployed families. Lastly, he has worked to ensure that families receiving assistance can access fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets.
- Rural Development. Worked to ensure New Jersey’s communities continue to be eligible for USDA’s rural development programs. Senator Menendez knows that it is important to strengthen rural communities and foster the next generation of farmers and ranchers. That is why he secured language in the 2012 Farm Bill that ensures New Jersey communities remain eligible for USDA’s rural development programs. Specifically, rural areas currently eligible for support will continue to be eligible for at least the next 3 years and will remain eligible afterwards unless USDA determines they are no longer rural areas.
- Helping Farmers Go Global. Supports the Market Access Program (MAP) because he believes we must encourage exports and open foreign markets to American grown agricultural products. MAP is used by American farmers, ranchers and fishermen extensively to help them market their products abroad. Without this assistance, it would be nearly impossible for producers to market their products overseas. Since MAP was created as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, U.S. agricultural exports have increased more than 300%.
- Helping Farmers Be More Efficient. Supports helping farmers operate more efficiently and environmentally friendly, which is why he has been a consistent advocate for the Resource Conservation and Development Program (RC&D). Local RC&D Councils conduct farm energy audits and show farmers how they can save energy by using farming methods that are less energy intensive. They also offer a variety of technical assistance to farmers and foresters to develop crop and other on-farm energy sources such as cellulosic ethanol, conversion of waste to fuel, and wind energy. During the Senate debate of the 2012 Farm Bill, he voted consistently against amendments that would have repealed the Forest Legacy Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Conservation Reserve Program.
- Battling Invasive Species. Worked to fund research to contain threats of invasive species including ways to contain the stinkbug and a better understanding of diseases that are decimating large numbers of pollinators. Senator Menendez understands the dangers invasive species pose to family farms and our nation’s food supply.
- Fighting the Bee Colony Collapse Disorder. Supported $20 million in funding for bee pollinator research to investigate the mysterious Bee Colony Collapse Disorder. Many crops depend on bees actively pollinating, but recently there is a great deal of concern over entire colonies dying for no obvious reason. This funding will support research to better understand bee pollination to support effective methods that will help farmers.
The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public. See all Legislation at Thomas.gov »