News Department

Committee passes bill expanding deer fencing grants to farmers who lease land

NEW JERSEY – Farmers who lease their land and want to protect their crops from deer could soon qualify for a grant to install fencing through the Department of Agriculture, thanks to a bill sponsored by Assemblymen Alex Sauickie and Kevin J. Rooney and passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.

The legislation (A5486) expands a 2021 grant program that provides matching funds for deer 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 grant programs require the farmers to be landowners.

This measure would permit farmers who lease land for agricultural or horticultural purposes to apply for the grant with permission from the owner.

“All farmers deserve an opportunity to protect their valuable produce from New Jersey’s destructive white-tail deer,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said. “This bill will give those farmers who lease their land a chance to secure their valuable crops and encourage them to stay in New Jersey long-term.”

In order to be eligible for the grant, farmers must receive written permission from the landowner and agree to continue to use the land for eight years. Applicants could receive a matching 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 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 bill supports farmers with the tools to ensure we keep the garden in the Garden State.”

The Senate bill (S3916) passed the upper house unanimously on Dec. 11.

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