Robert Menendez

US Senator for New Jersey
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Menendez Announces More Than $700,000 in Federal Funding for New Jersey Agricultural Projects

Promotion of Garden State’s wines, blueberries, peaches, cranberries among efforts to be funded

September 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced that $770,044.10 was awarded to the N.J. Department of Agriculture for 13 agricultural projects throughout the Garden State. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

“This funding will help everyone understand what followers of the ‘slow food’ movement, farm-to-table restaurants, and farmers’ markets already know – New Jersey farms produce some of the finest fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products in the nation,” said Senator Menendez. “Bringing New Jersey produce to our homes is healthy for our bodies, better for our environment and great for our economy. I’m looking forward to more people understanding why we are known as the Garden State in the first place.”

The funding announced today will make it possible for the state to implement the following 13 projects:

  • Partnering with the Mercer County Board of Agriculture to prepare specialty crop producers to comply with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) by educating direct market growers on FSMA compliance and GAP; conducting pathogen sampling of manure and manure based composts; conducting pathogen sampling of packing house equipment; developing cost effective means of compliance with FSMA and GAP.

  • Partnering with the Garden State Wine Growers Association to increase sales of northern New Jersey wines by promoting them through a targeted promotional campaign.

  • Partnering with the New Jersey Blueberry Growers Association to promote the consumption of New Jersey blueberries by developing and implementing a targeted promotional campaign consisting of radio advertisements.

  • Continuing to enhance the competitiveness of New Jersey fruits and vegetables by providing promotional support to the Jersey Fresh brand through print and television advertisements and point of sale advertising.

  • Partnering with the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council to promote New Jersey peaches through advertising in print media and various promotional events.

  • Partnering with the Outer Coastal Plain Vineyard Association to increase sales of New Jersey wines by conducting market research of wine consumers, creating a brand identity for a new proprietary blend, determining the proper channels through which target consumers can be reached with incentives, and creating a “Buy Local” marketing program to promote the new blend.

  • Partnering with the Jersey Fruit Cooperative Association, Inc. to lower the operating costs of fruit farms while minimizing the negative impact of fruit production on the environment by providing sustainability training to fruit growers and packing houses.

  • Partnering with the New Jersey Agricultural Society to increase specialty crop producers’ understanding of agricultural issues such as water and land use, trade agreements and land preservation and to enhance their business management, marketing, and communication skills by providing agricultural leadership development training. Matching funds will be provided to cover the costs that do not solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

  • Partnering with the New Jersey Agricultural Society to increase production and consumption of specialty crops by educating low-income families and the general public on their nutritional value; educating the general public about local sources of specialty crops; and marketing specialty crops and nutrition through video, online resources, and handouts.

  • Partnering with the American Cranberry Growers’ Association to increase the consumption of cranberry products by those suffering from metabolic syndrome by determining if cranberry consumption, even with added sugar, will improve some parameters of metabolic syndrome; showing the presence of beneficial phytochemicals in human plasma after cranberry consumption; testing the use of one or more cranberry varieties with a lower acid level; and sharing the results of the study with local cranberry growers.

  • Partnering with Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the Small Fruits Council to increase production of New Jersey strawberries by assessing the status of the production and marketing of minor small fruits such as strawberries, brambles, and ribes; expediting the evaluation and release of strawberry selections from the Rutgers breeding program; and sharing results of the project with small fruits growers.

  • Partnering with the New Jersey Blueberry and Cranberry Research Center to minimize the damage caused by key insect pests of blueberries by evaluating and developing innovative insect behavior- based approaches to managing oriental beetle, plum curculio, brown Marmorated stink bug and spotted wing drosophila; demonstrating the effectiveness of an attract-and-kill strategy for controlling these pests; and sharing results with blueberry growers.

  • Performing pre-award and post-award activities to administer Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding and ensure that the State Agency and sub-awardees abide by Federal and State requirements and regulations.

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