NEW JERSEY – The Senate endorsed Senator Joe Pennacchio’s legislation that 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.
Pennacchio’s bill, S-772, would support women and minority farmers, and help encourage more of them to consider operating farms in the Garden State.
“Historically, minority and disadvantaged farmers have been neglected by programs designed to help with loans and other assistance,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Too many have been unable to capitalize on affordable sources of financing for beginning farmers, emergency loans, and other costly expenses.”
The agriculture department would be required under Pennacchio’s bill 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.
“Fiscal challenges and sizable investment demands have been responsible for a significant loss in the number of minority and women farmers, not only in New Jersey but across the nation,” Pennacchio said. “The emphasis prompted by this registry would help reverse the trend, making it easier to find funding resources and attracting new minority farmers to the fields.”
The department would also provide registrants with information about signing up for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s minority farm register.