Assemblyman ERIC HOUGHTALING
District 11 (Monmouth)
Assemblyman BOB ANDRZEJCZAK
District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)
Establishes Farm Liaison in Department of Agriculture.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act establishing a Farm Liaison in the Department of Agriculture and supplementing Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Secretary of Agriculture, with the approval of the State Board of Agriculture, shall designate a current employee of the department as “Farm Liaison” who shall have the function, power, and duty to coordinate with individual farmers to encourage participation in department and State agricultural programs. The liaison shall encourage farmers to participate in State agriculture programs that may benefit that farmer, including informing the farmer about potential taxation benefits, and shall also disseminate information about pilot programs, food donation, anti-hunger initiatives, and any other department programs that the liaison may deem relevant to an individual farmer. The liaison shall, as appropriate, also coordinate with the State Agricultural Development Committee and the county agriculture development boards. The liaison shall also serve as a coordinator between farmers and organizations engaging in gleaning activities. The liaison shall serve at the pleasure of the secretary and board.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would require the Secretary of Agriculture, with the approval of the State Board of Agriculture, to designate a current employee of the department as “Farm Liaison.” The liaison would encourage farmer participation in State agriculture programs, including taxation programs, food donations, anti-hunger initiatives, and any other program that the liaison deems relevant to an individual farmer. The liaison would also serve as a coordinator between farmers and organizations engaged in gleaning activities, i.e., the harvesting of crops that would otherwise go unharvested.
Farmers frequently do not have the time or resources necessary to learn about every program offered by the department. The designation of a liaison is intended to provide outreach to farmers directly to increase participation in State programs that may aid farmers. The designation of a liaison would also build relationships between the agricultural community and organizations engaged in gleaning activities and anti-hunger initiatives. The participation of the agricultural community is essential to the success of anti-hunger initiatives, and a liaison would be beneficial for promoting awareness, and increasing participation in Sate programs.