Vegetable Crops Overview
About 23,000 of the 55,000 acres of prime farmland is utilized for fresh market and processing vegetable production.
Farmers supply vegetables to consumers in USA and most of the cities in the eastern United States and Canada. With refrigerated trailers, the fresh vegetables are within 24-hour reach of 100 million consumers of the United States. The production capability of the farmers provides employment for about 10,000 residents and seasonal workers.
USA is a food deficit state. The Anytown vegetable supply helps meet the needs of consumers from April through November with reasonably priced fresh vegetables. This within-state food industry of fresh and processed vegetables becomes more significant as transportation costs from other production areas increase.
Why is this a concentrated vegetable production area? The sandy soils, level topography, optimum climate, 43 inches of rainfall supplemented by available fresh well water for irrigation is the base of the vegetable industry.
Increased labor costs of recent years have resulted in mechanization to increase the efficiency of the farm workers. Tomatoes, snap beans, spinach and white potatoes are harvested primarily by machines to reduce production costs and make the harvest work easier for the farm workers.
Ornamental Horticulture Overview
Anytown has one of the most progressive nursery and floriculture industries in the country. The income from these industries adds about $75 million to the local economy. More than 4500 acres of ornamental production of nursery plants and flowers are grown for ever-expanding markets. Most plants help satisfy the market within approximately 150 miles of Anytown. Plants from Anytown are, however, shipped to most of the continental United States and several foreign countries.
Presently, the most rapidly expanding areas include container production, field nursery stock production, and turf production. Perennial plant production is one of the new crop areas that is developing.
Experience has shown that success is achieved with the highest quality crop being produced and an effective marketing campaign. The most successful growers are producing such a crop, and the result is a market that is expanding faster than out growers' ability to produce.
Involved in the agricultural complex are many organizations which supply production and marketing materials and services to farmers, creating a substantial amount of commerce and business activity in the county. Among these are banks, machinery dealers, fertilizers and chemical industries, seed suppliers, container suppliers, brokers and buyers, warehouse operators, aerial applicators, fuel and gas dealers, electric utilities, lumber dealers, auto and truck dealers, hardware stores, lawyers and accountants, trucking firms and numerous other suppliers. The total business community is dependent on the farmers who spend their income within the county. Federal, state, and local government is also supported by farm real estate income taxes.
Farmer-owned cooperatives are the center of sales for fresh vegetables grown in this area of USA. The three area cooperatives had a gross income in 1996 of more than $50 million. The Vineland Produce Auction along last year sold 6,670,651 packages of fresh vegetables from April to November, with a value greater than $46 million.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Anytown provides problem solving education programs for all commercial producers without regard to sex, race, color, national origin, disability or handicap or age. Formal classroom training, result demonstrations, technical advising in the field, applied research, and the production of educational literature all fit into a program to educate agricultural producers. Work is conducted in the diversified areas of marketing, business management, fertility, pest control, alternative crops, variety selection, and the maintenance of environmental quality.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension agricultural programs offer an individual farm operator the opportunity to select the right crops to grow, using all the modern methods of crop protection and cultural practices available. Information is also available for the farmer to utilize mechanization and marketing techniques based on experience and assisted by specialists of Rutgers University-Cook College through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension county agricultural agents James Johnson (ornamental horticulture) and Wes Kline (vegetable production).
New innovations and improving existing farm practices are an on-going program of the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Anytown in cooperation with supportive personnel from industrial suppliers.