KNOWLTON, N.J. - On Thursday, June 6, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) visited Kerkendall Farms, a dairy farm in Knowlton, and spoke with farmers, Councilman Frank Van Horn, Councilman Terry Urger, Councilman Bob McNinch, NJ Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam, and local agricultural board members to discuss issues facing farmers in North Jersey. Gottheimer toured the farm before sitting down and speaking to farmers and experts about agricultural issues facing the community.
Among the issues Gottheimer discussed with North Jersey farmers were the Farm Bill, crop insurance, how tariffs are negatively impacting farmers, the need to increase caps on temporary H-2A visas, the passing of farming program appropriations, support for specialty crops, the decrease in New Jersey dairy farmers over past decades, rural internet access, and the need to promote agriculture in New Jersey.
“So many of our farmers are struggling right now because of low dairy prices, the effects of tariffs, and the high cost of living in New Jersey," said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). "I'm committed to making sure conducting business in agriculture here in Jersey is more attractive and affordable than it currently is. We need to cut taxes and red tape and ensure we have the backs of Jersey's farmers."
Gottheimer continued, "Food and agriculture are the third-largest sector of our economy here in New Jersey and I am lucky to have some tremendous farms in my District. I appreciate the opportunity to visit Kerkendall Farms and talk about agriculture, trade, and cutting taxes for our farmers who so desperately need it.”
"It is reassuring to see Josh Gottheimer in action working to understand farm issues firsthand from farmers themselves," said NJ Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam.
Food and agriculture represents the third-largest sector of the economy in New Jersey, with 9,000 farms and generating over $1 billion towards the state’s economy every year. In Sussex and Warren counties, dairy alone generates $22 million. Kerkendall Farms, like most farms in Jersey, is a family farm and has been in the Kerkendall family for seven generations.
Along with many local farmers, in attendance today were Ryck Suydam, President, NJ Farm Bureau; Peter Furey, Director, NJ Farm Bureau; Frank Van Horn, Councilman, Knowlton Township and Warren Agriculture Board Member; Terry Urfer, Councilman, Hope Township and Warren Agriculture Board Member; Bob McNinch, Councilman, Knowlton Township; and Tracy and John Kerkendall, owners of Kerkandall Farms.
June is also National Dairy Month.