NEW JERSEY – Farmers throughout New Jersey may soon be able to apply for agricultural grants to help cover the cost of deer fencing thanks to bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho and signed into law Tuesday by Governor Murphy.
“I am glad Governor Murphy signed this bill into law today. Damage to crops from deer has become a crippling problem for many New Jersey farmers,” Oroho (R-24) said. “In some instances, producers have abandoned fields that are too vulnerable to deer damage, and others have transitioned away from produce and row crops to hay, just to lessen the impact. By issuing grants for fencing, my legislation will provide a practical and humane method of protecting crops.”
The legislation, S-4231/A-4232, would create a grant program within the Department of Agriculture to provide matching grants to the owner of (1) unpreserved farmland; (2) a farm for which pinelands development credits have been sold; or (3) a farm that is located in a sending zone pursuant to the “Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act.”
The agricultural grants would not exceed a total of $20,000 per applicant for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs, which would include the cost to purchase deer fencing and the maintenance costs of existing fencing.
“Within the past 20 years, the Department of Agriculture has had various programs to provide deer fencing to farmers to help protect their crops,” Oroho said. “However, these funds have only been available to farmers on preserved farmland. My legislation will simply expand these programs to help farmers protect their crops on unpreserved farmland as well.”