Dancer bill offering farms grant money for deer fencing clears committee

Dancer bill offering farms grant money for deer fencing clears committee

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill that will provide matching grants to farmers to install deer fencing cleared the Assembly Agriculture Committee Thursday.

The bill (A4232) expands the existing grant program to farms on unpreserved land, farms with sold or conveyed pinelands development credits, and farms located in sending zones in the Highlands region. The Department of Agriculture launched a program in 2017 that helped only farms on preserved land, and this bill improves upon that program.

“Lost crops from uncontrolled white-tail deer populations can devastate a farm’s bottom line,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “My bill will provide matching funds to help farmers protect their crops, keeping our farming industry strong in New Jersey.”

The Department of Agriculture would award $200 per acre, up to $20,000 per applicant for up to 50% of eligible project costs. Farmers must show a minimum of $10,000 in gross sales from the preceding year, and retain the land in active production for eight years after the grant award. Any farmer failing to meet those criteria must repay the grant pro rata.

“More than 50% of New Jersey farmers report losses due to crop damage from deer and other animals,” Dancer added. “All farms should be eligible for this help to protect their land and crops.”

The bill now goes to the Assembly speaker for consideration.