More farms qualify for deer fencing grant money under new law

More farms qualify for deer fencing grant money under new law

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – Under recently-enacted legislation, sponsored by Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Hal Wirths, more farmers will be able to protect their crops from deer by installing fencing with grants through the N.J. Department of Agriculture.

The legislation (A4232/S4231) expands a 2017 grant program that provides funding for fencing on preserved farmland. Under the new law, farms on unpreserved land, as well as certain farms in the pinelands and highlands regions, are eligible to apply for the 50% matching grants.

Harold J. Wirths

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

The Department of Agriculture will 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.

“The overpopulation of deer contributes to millions of dollars in lost crops each year. More than half of New Jersey farmers report that most of the damage to their crops comes from deer,” Wirths (R-Sussex) said. “Expanding this grant program allows more farmers to protect their livelihoods.”