New Jersey's agricultural and related industries remains a vital sector of the state's economy (farm sales generated $1.043 billion in 2015) 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.
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.
Increases in knowledge and skills of agricultural and horticultural industry professionals will occur in the following areas: