News Department

Bill expanding wildlife fencing grants to farmers who lease land now law

NEW JERSEY – Farmers who lease their land can qualify for a state grant to install fencing to protect their crops from wildlife thanks to a measure sponsored by Assemblymen Alex Sauickie and Kevin J. Rooney and signed into law Monday.

The legislation (A5486/S3916) permits farmers who lease land for agricultural or horticultural purposes to apply for a grant from the State Agriculture Development Committee or the Department of Agriculture with permission from the owner.

It expands a 2021 grant program that provides matching funds for fencing on unpreserved farmland and certain farms in the Pinelands and Highlands. Preserved farmlands already qualified for a similar grant under a 2017 law. However, all previous grant programs required the farmers to be landowners.

“All farmers deserve an opportunity to protect their valuable produce, especially from New Jersey’s destructive white-tail deer,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said. “This law helps farmers secure their annual harvest so they can stay in this state for the long term and continue to contribute to New Jersey’s prized agricultural industry.”

To qualify, farmers must receive written permission from the landowner and agree to continue to use the land for eight years. If a commercial farm does not qualify for the SADC’s farmland stewardship fencing grant program, it will be eligible for the agriculture department’s matching grant program. Applicants could receive a grant equal to 50% of the project costs, not to exceed $50,000.

“Millions of dollars in lost crops each year can be directly attributed to wildlife and the overpopulation of deer. More than half of New Jersey farmers report that deer are responsible for most of the yearly damage to their crops,” Rooney (R-Bergen) said. “This law will equip farmers with the tools they need to ensure we keep the garden in the Garden State.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

Related Articles

Back to top button