A pair of bills sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space to help bring new farmers into the business earned the approval of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Space’s legislation creates a mentoring program for beginning farmers and establishes a loan program in the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for beginning farmers financing capital purchases.

“Farming is a risky business, and it is further complicated in high-cost metropolitan states like New Jersey,” said Space (R—Sussex, Warren, Morris), an eighth-generation farmer. “Anyone who wants to start a farm needs a boost to get over the hurdles. Farming is hard work, but it is the financial challenges that can be most formidable for newcomers.”

There are more than 9,000 farms in the Garden State, and New Jersey is one of the nation’s top producers of fruits, tree nuts, berries, vegetables and melons.