NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio to encourage and support minority and women farmers was advanced Monday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Pennacchio’s legislation, S-772, would direct the State Department of Agriculture to establish a New Jersey Minority, Woman and Underserved Farmer Registry, making it easier for registered farmers to qualify for loan and assistance programs.
“For too long, minority and disadvantaged farmers have been underserved by programs that provide loans and assistance,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “As a result, many have missed out on money for beginning farmers, emergency loans, and other sources of financing.
“At the same time, there has been a significant erosion in the number of minority and women farmers, both in the Garden State and across the nation,” Pennacchio said. “The emphasis provided by this registry would help bolster agricultural diversity, attracting new minority farmers and reversing the trend.”
Under the bill, the agriculture department would be required to coordinate outreach to minority, women, disabled, and other socially disadvantaged farmers to encourage them to register and receive notification of opportunities to apply for loans and to participate in beneficial programs.
The department would also provide registrants with information about signing up for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s minority farm register.