New legislation will stop deer from destroying crops on New Jersey farms
D'oh! D'oh! D'oh!
Imagine Homer Simpson as a farmer in New Jersey, so many emotions, he would go crazy and probably end up on a hammock somewhere taking a nap.
Deer have become overpopulated and it's been a trend over the last couple of years during the winter months alone of these animals crossing the road. Maybe they're listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye.
"We always see an uptick this time of year and that's because it's the mating season, commonly known as 'the rut', where Bucks are chasing receptive doe's, so you will see deer dart across the road at anytime of the day or night but usually it's most likely at dusk or dawn," Carole Stanko, NJ DEP Wildlife Management Bureau Chief, told Townsquare Media News in October 2021.
Winter aside, deer are causing problems for farmers who have lots of land and crops to take care of during the warmer weather months especially.
It's what sparked recent legislation that has since been passed.
The bill, (A4232/S4231), sponsored by Ocean County Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R) and Sussex/Morris/Warren County Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R), would help farmers protect those crops from deer by putting up fences with help coming in thanks to grants from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
It's an expansion of a 2017 grant program to provide funds for fences on preserved farmland.
With this expansion, Assemblymen Dancer and Wirths said that farmers can apply for 50-percent matching grants if they are on specific farms such as in the pine lands, highlands or unpreserved land with the DOA providing $200.00 per acre and up to $20,000 per applicant -- provided that the farmers prove they brought in a minimum of $10,000 in gross sales the year prior.
“Lost crops from uncontrolled white-tail deer populations can devastate a farm’s bottom line,” Dancer said in a statement. “This law provides matching funds to help farmers protect their crops, keeping our farming industry strong in New Jersey.”
“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 said in a statement. “Expanding this grant program allows more farmers to protect their livelihoods.”