Economic Growth and Agricultural Sustainability

Situation

New Jersey's agricultural and related industries remains a vital sector of the state's economy ($866 million dollars in cash receipts from farm marketings in 2004) and environmental well-being. New Jersey's agriculture is diverse, encompassing a range of commodities, production methods, marketing techniques, processors and sales outlets. In addition, New Jersey's agriculture is changing--evolving market needs, economic and other production constraints, an aging and changing (immigration, diversity) agricultural work force, and as well as mounting environmental issues and social constraints--that can provide significant challenges and opportunities. In addition, non-food agricultural production (turf, equine, nursery, floriculture, etc.) is a large and growing segment of the agricultural economy must be addressed. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension is the premier educational resource for the state's agricultural producers and natural resource managers. Rutgers Cooperative Extension must continue to remain relevant, timely, proactive and forward thinking, and must determine or reconfirm its current strengths, weaknesses and capacity before we can develop effective future efforts that meet the needs of the agricultural sector.

Assumptions

The viability of NJ's agriculture depends on innovative and relevant methods to help solve problems and develop solutions in the areas of production, processing, markets, human and natural resources, environment and policy. Rutgers Cooperative Extension will meet local needs through County Rutgers Cooperative Extension faculty and staff, while participating in regional and state-wide programs focusing on commodity production (turf, nursery, equine, fruit and vegetables) and marketing (processing, value added, economics), as well as universal issues including water, environmental degradation, policy, and land use and availability. Rutgers Cooperative Extension specialists and NJAES researchers will provide leadership and support to county faculty and staff in commodity and issue related programming.

Expected Outcomes

Short Term
Increases in knowledge and skills of agricultural and horticultural industry professionals will occur in the following areas:

  • Nutrient management
  • Pest management
  • Waste/by-products management and utilization
  • Improving water quality and conserving water
  • Conserving energy
  • Marketing skills
  • Labor management
  • Risk management
  • Policy e.g. farmland preservation
  • Sustainable agricultural and organic agricultural production methods
  • New crops and use/alternative crops

Medium Term

  • Productive agricultural land will be stabilized to meet the needs of the agricultural industry and the open space needs of people of NJ.
  • Agriculture remains a relevant and viable economic sector as profits increase (through reduced costs and/or increased or new sales or revenue streams).
  • Measurable reductions in environmental impact (clear and adequate sources of water, reduced waste, reduced soil losses, reductions in non-point source pollution, etc.) will occur through the adoption of improved and sound management practices.
  • Overall state environmental quality will be enhanced by agriculture, such as through the utilization and recycling of biowastes generated by the non-ag sector or the enhancement of air quality.
  • The products of NJ agriculture will add to the nutritional quality of New Jerseyans food.

Long Term

  • New Jersey's agriculture will remain a viable and important industry.
  • New Jersey residents will recognize the importance of agriculture's contributions to societal well being (open space, quality of life) and will support the agricultural industry socially, politically and economically.

  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences