Farm Bill Programs 2009

Farm Bill Programs in New Jersey - 2009

In 2009 New Jersey received more than $15 million through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) for eligible landowners and agricultural producers through USDA voluntary programs.

Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA)

automatic waterer gets water to livestock efficientlyAMA provides cost share assistance to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control. In New Jersey, the program specifically targets beginning and limited resource farmers, small farms, and producers who have had limited participation in other USDA financial assistance programs. Producers may construct or improve water management structures or irrigation structures; plant trees for windbreaks or to improve water quality; and mitigate risk through production diversification or resource conservation practices, including soil erosion control, integrated pest management, or transition to organic farming. In 2009, there were 10 contracts awarded with $268,101 in allocated AMA funds on 623 acres of land.

Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) by county in Fiscal Year 2009

BURLINGTON $31,488.00 pie chart showing distribution of funds in FY2009 bar graph showing distribution of funds in FY2009
HUNTERDON $129,786.40
MIDDLESEX $8,913.00
MONMOUTH $13,474.00
SUSSEX $22,670.60
WARREN $61,768.81

Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP)

AWEP is a voluntary conservation program under the 2008 Farm Bill available only in approved watersheds across the country. In New Jersey, a partnership between the North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development Council (RC&D), the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA) and NRCS was approved in 2009 to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of agricultural lands in the Raritan River basin to protect water quality. In 2009, 6 contracts were awarded with $90,256 in allocated AWEP funds on 594 acres.

Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) by county in Fiscal Year 2009

HUNTERDON $40,036.00 Pie chart showing distribution of funds Bar graph showing distribution of funds in FY2009
SOMERSET $50,229.00

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP provides financial assistance for permanent measures or management strategies to address existing resource concerns related to water quality, soil quality and other resource concerns. New Jersey contracted with 106 producers using $4,611,171 in 2009 funds to implement new conservation systems on 20,672 acres throughout the State.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) by county in Fiscal Year 2009

ATLANTIC $173,652.00
BURLINGTON $328,220.00
CAMDEN $140,606.61
CUMBERLAND $108,804.00 Pie chart showing distribution of funds in FY 2009 Bar graph showing distribution of funds in FY 2009
GLOUCESTER $919,986.31
HUNTERDON $456,634.41
MERCER $3,996.00
 MIDDLESEX $76,321.00
 MONMOUTH $38,134.00
MORRIS $134,910.00
 OCEAN $18,002.00
SALEM $1,532,929.31
 SOMERSET $55,727.00
 SUSSEX $308,741.50
WARREN $314,507.00
Conservation Innovation Grants

Conservation Innovation Grants are funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Four exciting projects were funded in FY2009.

repaired travel laneConservation Plans and Rhythm & Blues LLC - In 2005 Rhythm & Blues LLC contacted NRCS about two concerns. They wanted help with a travel lane that remained wet throughout much of the winter and they wanted a conservation plan to meet their farmland preservation requirements.

NRCS began to work with the owners of this twenty-seven horse boarding and lesson operation to not only look at the cause of the wet travel lane, but to do an inventory and evaluation of the entire farm. The Soil Conservationist determined that there were several resource concerns that should be addressed with conservation practices. The resource concerns included soil erosion, water quality, inadequate feed for livestock, and inadequate water for livestock.

The Soil Conservationist recommended a waste storage facility be installed to address water quality concerns; two diversions with underground outlets to address the erosion and the wet lane; pasture planting, and fencing to facilitate prescribed grazing to address feed for livestock; and livestock watering facilities to provide water to livestock in the new rotational grazing system.

The landowners have successfully implemented these conservation practices through an EQIP contract and are very satisfied that NRCS has helped resolve their concerns.

horse at Kozak farmHolland Township Thoroughbred Horse Farm - NRCS began working with Edith Kozak in the fall of 2004. A conservation plan was written to address resource concerns for her 90-acre thoroughbred horse farm in Hunterdon County. The farm is a breeding operation as well as a boarding facility for 85 horses.

manure containmentEdith’s primary concerns were controlling runoff from manure during periods of adverse weather and improving pastures to provide the animals with better quality and quantity of forage. She received assistance to address these concerns through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Edith installed 2300 feet of fence in 2006. Automatic waterers and 3000 feet of polyethylene water pipeline were completed in 2008. In the summer of 2009, construction began on the waste storage facility, a concrete pad with three sides made of 2x2x4 concrete waste blocks. A wooden picket on one side allows excess water to trickle through to a dedicated vegetative wastewater treatment strip.

NRCS continues to work with the owner to fine tune the grazing plan so that pastures stay green during the grazing season and so that impacts to the vegetation during the non-grazing season are minimized.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) by county in Fiscal Year 2009

ATLANTIC $23,374.00 Pie chart showing distribution of funds in FY 2009 Bar graph showing distribution of funds in FY 2009
BURLINGTON $57,579.64
CUMBERLAND $4,114.00
HUNTERDON $150,286.34
MONMOUTH $9,944.00
MORRIS $21,510.00
OCEAN $78,753.00
SALEM $1,539.00
SOMERSET $19,290.00
SUSSEX $46,751.00
WARREN $291,093.24


Conservation Security Program (CSP)

CSP rewards producers who have demonstrated high levels of conservation and management on their farms by protecting soil and water quality.


Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)

warm season grassFRPP provides matching funds to State government and non-profit organizations who purchase conservation easements to keep productive farmland in agricultural uses.

To date (10/1996 to 5/2010), NRCS has assisted in acquiring 138 farmland easements in New Jersey, totaling 15,006 acres. In New Jersey NRCS has invested $27,361,481 in these lands to protect the long term productivity of the soil, averaging about 19% of the total easement value. State, county, municipal, and private foundation sources provide the rest of the funding.

County Acres Federal Dollars
Bergen 17.1 $467,868
Burlington 1,180.6 $987,117
Camden 69.8 $1,853,030
Cumberland 153.0 $41,447
Gloucester 486.2 $501,130
Hunterdon 2,688.8 $5,465,186
Mercer 936.8 $1,338,213
Middlesex 997.8 $2,345,002
Monmouth 944.7 $2,010,966
Morris 521.1 $1,720,253
Ocean 433.6 $267,169
Salem 3,089.2 $5,465,255
Somerset 821.4  $3,324,986
Sussex 810.4  $203,085
Warren 1,855.7 $1,370,775

Banner Year for Farm and Ranch Lands Protection in New Jersey - Our partnerships with the State and conservation organizations continue to “bear fruit” in preserving agricultural lands in key areas of the state. The Wickecheoke Creek area of Hunterdon County, the Highlands of Warren County, and the Oldmans and Alloway Creek areas of Salem County have been targeted by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, D&R Greenway, Hunterdon Land Trust, and the state of New Jersey for the excellent soils and rich agricultural and cultural history of the areas. In 2009, NRCS participated in providing the financial piece to complete transactions to protect seven family farms in these areas.

In Warren County, third-generation farmer Leonard Truszkowski was able to buy out his siblings and continue farming by preserving his 150 acres. Second-generation farmer Karen Murphy realized a dream of her parents when she protected her 86-acre farm, and with it, another piece in the long-term protection of horse farms surrounding the US Equestrian Center in Somerset County.

The 51 acres newly preserved by the Kern family in Salem County was added to the 350 acres previously preserved through the state program. Jack and Deborah Cianfrani recently completed restoring their farm and celebrated the through sale of their easement, which contains a headwaters tributary of the Alloway Creek near the Salem River Greenway. Sam Musumeci, a third-generation farmer, protected his 102-acre Oldmans Creek area farm to keep the farm in the family for another generation.

In Hunterdon County, the Danese acquisition completes a now unbroken stretch of preserved land in the historic Rosemont Valley. The Jungblut property contains a tributary of the Wickecheoke Creek with a small waterfall. The 123 acres preserved between the two farms, brings the total farmland preservation in Delaware Township to over 4,200 acres.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)

WRP provides technical and financial assistance to enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal land from agriculture. Introduced in the 1996 Farm Bill, the program has been used in New Jersey for fourteen easements, closed between July 1996 and February 2010, representing slightly more than 3,820 acres at a cost of $7,486,000 ($1,959 per acre):

  • Atlantic – 109 acres
  • Burlington – 2290 acres
  • Cumberland – 659 acres
  • Monmouth – 96 acres
  • Ocean – 135 acres
  • Salem – 39 acres
  • Warren – 97 acres
  • Somerset – 395 acres (closed in FY 2010)

Wetlands at blueberry operationDam Breach and Wetland Restoration Project - In 2009, NRCS broke ground with phase 1 of a dam breach and wetland restoration project located in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County on the Watering Race Branch of the Egg Harbor River. NRCS entered into a Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project goal was to restore natural stream flow and wetland habitat through a controlled stable dam breach and supplement natural regeneration with plantings of native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous vegetation.

construction of wetlandsPhase 1 consisted of a main dam breach at the original water control structure. The structures were removed and vinyl sheet piling installed with a rock-lined channel. Warm season native grasses were also planted within the disturbed areas to help restore the natural habitat. Phase 2 will resume in 2010 and will consist of a breach between the upper and lower lake. Phase 2 will also include rebuilding the lower lake berm to adequate storage elevations. In addition, native warm season grasses will be seeded along the lower lake embankment.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

WHIP provides financial assistance to create, enhance, or maintain five priority wildlife habitat types on non-federal lands. New Jersey received $704,234 in WHIP funds for 2009 and manages to provide wildlife benefits on 2,166 acres.

Seber Dam December 2008Seber Grove Dam Fish Passage Project - The Musconetcong River flows from Lake Hopatcong in Morris County to its confluence with the Delaware River in Hunterdon County and has recently been designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River. Local groups, municipalities and government agencies have partnered to work on removing some of the dams that are no longer in use or pose safety hazards.

NRCS partnered to enhance fish passage at the Seber Grove Dam on the Musconetcong River in Hackettstown, Warren County. The dam was one of several built in the 18th and 19th Century for industrial and agricultural purposes. The river has over 30 dams, most of which are no longer used for the original purposes and are in disrepair. The dams create a barrier for fish passage and presented other environmental problems. The water held back by the dam is warmed; higher water temperatures mean less oxygen, negatively affecting the native fish, bird and plant habitat. The dam removal helps return the Musconetcong stream flow to a more natural condition which improves habitat for native fish, plants and other wildlife.

In 2005 NRCS entered into a Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) agreement with the Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) to breach the Seber Dam owned by the town of Hackettstown to create fish passage and stream habitat improvement. The MWA hired Princeton Hydro LLC to design and engineer the breach. NRCS engineers oversaw the design and conducted a pre-construction survey to provide baseline data on stream geomorphology. In the future annual surveys will be conducted to monitor changes in the stream characteristics. A small breach was cut into the dam to lower the water level and facilitate the pre construction survey. The project was completed in February, 2009.