New Jersey produces world famous tomatoes, corn and blueberries along with many other types of fruits and vegetables, but this year is shaping up to be one of the most challenging ever for farmers in the Garden State.

According to Peter Furey, the executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, supply chain issues are making it harder for farmers to get what they need and inflation has made everything significantly more expensive.

"Not only for gasoline and diesel fuel, but for commonly used things like fertilizers and packaging, right across the board everything is up significantly.”

He said this has added to the risk that is common for farmers.

“There’s a lot of worry out there about getting sufficient revenue to cover their costs,” he said.

Farming is a costly business

Furey said at the beginning of the season, farmers put out a tremendous amount of money to raise their crop, then they have to survive weather changes to get a reasonable yield. After that, they go into the marketplace and sell that commodity.

This year, however, there's a new worry because of inflation.

“Prices received for that produce will be ordinary, so they would not be able to cover the extraordinary cost increases from the revenues received,” Furey said.

With revenues for crops not budging, that could put many farmers at a loss.

“I’ve heard things, on average, for all kinds of inputs is between 20% and 25%. Some things like fertilizer can be as high as 100%, so if your revenue received for the crops is level, then you’re just looking at a terrible deficit,” Furey said.

Dennis Malloy photo
Dennis Malloy photo
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There are other problems as well

In addition to high prices and supply chain disruptions, there are also other problems farmers are experiencing.

“We’re also hearing about labor shortages and having to pay higher than normal labor costs," Furey said.

You can help

Furey said New Jersey supermarkets and consumers can help farmers this summer.

"The Jersey Fresh program is a good example of a state support that could make a difference,” Furey said. "Local production of excellent quality produce would go a long way towards addressing some of these financial problems that we’re talking about regarding cost of inputs."

To locate places that sell Jersey Fresh products, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture runs a website that uses a locator tool that allows people to type in their location, as well as some other criteria.

“We have wonderful products. It’s a big success story, but we’re being challenged by a terrible price squeeze,” Furey said.

The New Jersey Farm Bureau is the largest advocacy group for agriculture in the Garden State.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: