New Jersey Ag News
Bilyks host Fisher, NJFB at field day
By JANE PRIMERANO
WHITE TOWNSHIP (Sept. 15, 2016) — Fewer farmers attended the field day at Bilyk’s Farm than have in the past, Nancy Bilyk said, as she tried to send leftover food home with anyone leaving. But those who were gathered in the Brass Castle Road barn were concerned about the many issues facing farmers.
Bilyk said the unusual weather this summer meant farmers had more hay to bring in than usual. She also noted there was a farm sale nearby.
This was the 25th year the family has presented the event, which includes a morning full of presentations followed by lunch.
Representatives from Farm Bureau, Natural Resources Conservation Service, state Department of Environmental Protection, the Warren County Soil Conservation District and crop insurance providers all attended to make presentations.
John Parke of the Audubon Society spoke on cover crops, specifically for those farmers in the Pohatcong Creek watershed. In addition, the Bilyk family sells seed at the field days. Literature filled a table on one side of the barn.
One concern was the possibility of a referendum on the ballot in 2017 to raise the minimum wage.
“Agriculture is very concerned,” Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher said.
He explained the agriculture community’s concerns are deeper than just a New Jersey vote.
If surrounding states don’t increase the minimum wage and New Jersey does, it will affect food prices and competition.
Fisher said his department will try to find a way to implement training wages or exemptions for youth working in agriculture. He said there are offsets possible that would help farmers.
The Farm Bureau is already talking about working with the state to put specific agriculture language in any referendum on wages.