Future Leaders in New Jersey Agriculture Toured Cape May County to Learn About Hot Topics in the New Jersey Farming Industry
On June 8th, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Agricultural Society (NJAS) teamed up to offer a tour for fourteen participants in the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program (NJALDP) in Cape May County. The goal was to teach the class ?rst-hand about the issues that New Jersey farmers are facing. Jenny Carleo, Cape May County Agricultural and Resource Management Agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension was invited by Jennifer Matthews, Director of NJALDP, to lead the tour.
The tour began with a look at the oyster industry, including a visit to Rutgers’ New Jersey Aquaculture Innovation Center to see how oyster seed for “Cape May Salts” is developed, and how Rutgers supports the oyster industry by growing disease-resistant oysters. David Bushek, Director of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, and Mike Acquafredda, a graduate student studying the potential for surf clam farming in New Jersey, gave participants an overview of initiatives at the center. Participants were shown how oyster seed is developed and how Rutgers supports the industry by growing disease-resistant oysters.
The tour also included stops at a commercial oyster farm, Betsy’s Cape Shore Salts, Willow Creek Winery and the US Department of Agriculture Plant Material Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Materials Center. The tour guides and site hosts gave participants an in-depth perspective of the challenges that the farming and oyster industries in Cape May County face, some which are due to state regulations and others which are unique to this remote county that is significantly affected by tourism, the economy, and its rich but delicate coastal/bayshore environment.
The NJALDP is a two-year professional development opportunity offered by the New Jersey Agricultural Society. The program is designed for individuals in farming and agribusiness to become informed, articulate leaders.
Photo: New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program (NJALDP) Class on Tour in Cape May County with Jennifer Matthews, Program Director, Chris Miller, Manager/Plant Specialist, US Department of Agriculture Plant Material Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Jenny S. Carleo, Cape May County Agricultural and Resource Management Agent