TRENTON, N.J. — Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher announced that the State Agriculture Development Committee is offering a new program to provide cost-sharing grants to New Jersey farmers to assist with installing deer fencing on permanently preserved farms to protect against crop losses.
“Deer cause several millions dollars in crop losses each year in New Jersey,” said Secretary Fisher. “Fencing can be an effective tool to prevent this, but many farmers simply cannot afford to pay the full cost. This new program will provide matching funds to help farmers install fencing to protect their crops while furthering the public’s investment in farmland preservation by helping to maximize the agricultural productivity of the land.”
The SADC will provide 50 percent matching grants to qualifying established farmers for the cost of fencing materials and installation. The maximum grant award is $200 per acre of preserved farmland owned or $20,000 total. The SADC will make at least $500,000 available for the program this fiscal year. The funds will be derived from a portion of the SADC’s State farmland preservation monies that are allocated to promoting stewardship activities on preserved farms.
Applications will be ranked and prioritized for available funding based on criteria including deer density per square mile, crop type to be fenced, hunting status on the farm and adjacent properties and farmer military status. The ranking system awards additional points to applications from military veteran farmers — those who served at any time since Sept. 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged or released — to support veterans who are transitioning to careers in agriculture.
An application form and the SADC’s deer fencing policy are available on the SADC’s website at www.nj.gov/agriculture/sadc/. Applications must be received by the SADC by March 23 in order to be considered for grant funding. Funding for the deer fencing program is subject to appropriation by the Legislature.
The SADC administers New Jersey’s Farmland Preservation Program and promotes innovative approaches to maintaining the viability of agriculture. To date, more than 2,400 farms covering approximately 225,000 acres have been preserved under the State Farmland Preservation Program.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture