New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher announced May 15th the Department is now accepting applications for cost-share grants for the installation of deer fencing on unpreserved farms. Unpreserved farm owners or operators in New Jersey may receive up to 50 percent matching funds ($20,000 maximum, no more than $200 per acre) if their application is approved. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds for the fiscal year are expended. “This is an excellent opportunity for eligible New Jersey farmers to seek funds that will give them a way to protect valuable crops that may be susceptible to deer damage, and we encourage farmers to apply,” Secretary Fisher said.
This program is possible because of legislation (P.L.2021, c.451), which provided funding in Governor Murphy’s budget for deer fencing.
In 2019, New Jersey Farm Bureau commissioned a study to assess white-tailed deer populations in eight New Jersey counties. The report concluded that deer densities per square mile are on average 4-5 times greater than safe and sustainable numbers. That survey was conducted by wildlife habitat planning and management consultancy Steward Green using drone-based thermal imaging technology, trained wildlife biologists and infrared analysts to perform an in-the-field analysis to estimate deer populations in seven study areas encompassing more than 12,730 acres, or approximately 20 square miles. The areas surveyed were in Atlantic, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset, and Warren counties. Steward Green’s survey revealed that there are on average approximately 80-100 white-tailed deer per square mile in the areas covered by the study.
For more information about the NJDA deer fencing grant go to www.nj.gov/agriculture/grants/.
There is deer fencing available for farms enrolled in the State Agriculture Development Committee farmland preservation program. More information can be found at bit.ly/453c4Xa.