AmericanFarm.com

N.J. ag thrives, despite urban rep (Editorial)

(March 15, 2015) New Jersey is often characterized as the most urbanized state in the nation.
Lying directlty in the path of the New York-Baltimore-Washington metroplex, it absorbs most of the suburban-bound spillover from Manhattan and fills a gap in the Atlantic Ocean playland along the coast.
You would not bet the mortgage, under those circumstances then, on the fact that agriculture — that’s right “farming” — continues an impressive performance in the Garden State.
Actually, it’s not only holding its own, it’s getting stronger.
Take a look at the latest report from the New Jersey field office of the National Ag Statistic Service.
It was an update of an annual “land in farms” survey.
The number of farms is 9,100 for 2014, unchanged from a year earlier. Total land in farms is 720,000 acres, also unchanged.
Of those 9,100 farms: 5,600 have sales below $10,000; 2,350 farms between $10,000-99,000; 720 between $100,000-500,000 in sales; and 430 above $500,000.
How about cattle?
Cattle and calves totaled 28,000 on Jan. 1, up 4 percent from last year.
Milk cows, which comprise 25 percent of total cattle, numbered 7,000 — unchanged from a year earlier.
Beef cows totaled 7,500 head, up 7 percent from a year ago.
Bulls weighing 500 pounds or more were 1,000 — unchanged from one year earlier.
The only tarnish on these rather astonishing numbers was the calf crop which totaled 9,000, down 5 percent from a year ago.
The figures in the ag statistics report serve to underline, in bold stroke, the open land and farmland fervor of the citizens of New Jersey who consistently, through the years, have demanded of their state lawmakers to fund land preservation efforts.
And for that, we applaud them.