Warren farmers hear about Rutgers, deer management
WHITE TOWNSHIP — Changes are coming to Rutgers University, Dr. Brian Schilling, director of Cooperative Extension, told a group of Warren County Farmers on Jan. 26.
The farmers were gathered at the Cooperative Extension office in the Warren County Administration Building for Warren County Agriculture Information Day.
Schilling explained several senior people in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences have retired.
He said the appointment of new university president Jonathan Holloway sets in motion a search for replacements.
He also said the addition of a medical school means the university now has some of the top scientists in gut microbiome and personal health.
“A medical school knows research but not necessarily how to get into the communities,” Schilling said. Cooperative Extension’s Family and Community Health Sciences division knows exactly how and Schilling sees the possibilities for a great cooperation.
Schilling emphasized the importance of educating the public about wildlife damage. He noted surveys have found 300 to 400 deer per square mile in some places where a healthy number would be eight to 10. At the same time the number of people who hunt has diminished. It’s important that non-farmers understand how important it is to control the herd and government officials need to open up more public lands to hunting.
Peter Furey, executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau also addressed deer management.
He noted every parcel of public land must have a management plan. He pointed out there is pushback against hunting from the non-farm community, but it is essential to address the urban areas of the state, “the people who have never been on a farm.”
The same is true of the members of the legislature, he noted, “the suburban guys get it, the urban guys don’t get it.”
Other areas of education and outreach are also important, such as helping the public understand managing water and soil.
Furey emphasized the importance of every farmer being a member of Farm Bureau. Most of the farmers in the room are members and Terry Urfer of the Hope Township Committee pointed out Hope joined as a municipality, the first in the state to do so.
Sean Hoffman of Stuber Insurance in Hackettstown said that firm joined as an agency.
Nicki Kavanaugh, a research assistant on the Farm Bureau staff, said there are 8,600 members in New Jersey and they are shooting for 10,000.
The good news, Furey said, is that the public is supportive of farmers. He said a recent poll indicated 70% of the population considers farmers very important and 20 percent considers them somewhat important.
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