State budget wrangling in New Jersey has local producers ticked off because, although the budget for the Jersey Fresh program will remain the same, it was not increased as promised.
Actually, make that restored to previous levels after “belt-tightening” in Trenton last year, reports NJBIZ.com.
The governor “put a dagger through the heart of the Jersey Fresh brand” that promotes locally grown fruits and vegetables, said John Melick, a trustee of the New Jersey Council of Farmers and Communities, a nonprofit group representing the farm trade. “Jersey Fresh … has all but disappeared,” Melick told NJBIZ.
The cuts are planned despite the findings of a Rutgers University study finding a healthy return on the state’s investment in Jersey Fresh.
Peter Furey, executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau in Trenton — representing more than 14,000 members, including farmers, nurseries and suppliers — said his organization is “very concerned about the equity of the cuts.”
“We are hopeful that as the economy recovers, there will be a replenishment of Jersey Fresh funding,” he said.
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