FDA wants farmers’ input on proposed regulations

New Jersey farmers and agricultural experts questioned representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday about new regulations that will bring federal officials to their farms. The federal regulators visited the Rutgers University EcoComplex on Florence-Columbus Road for a food safety conference. The Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 4, 2011, requires that farms producing more than $25,000 a year in food sales meet new FDA requirements…Wesley L. Kline, an agricultural expert with Rutgers University, told the gathering that about 20 percent of New Jersey’s more than 10,000 farms will be affected by the regulations. The other approximately 8,000 farmers produce less than $25,000 in products each year.

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Farmers learn of dangers from experts

Remember the terrifying scene in the movie "Witness" when the bad guy gets caught in a silo as thousands of tiny kernels fall on top of him, burying him in a suffocating cloud of corn? On farms, the danger of a storage accident is real. So are accidents involving farm machinery. Fire departments and emergency responders may not be as familiar with these situations as other rescues. So Ray Samulis, Rutgers University’s agricultural extension agent for Burlington County, hosted a symposium recently at the county’s agricultural center here entitled, "Grain Bin Emergency Response Training," for farmers and rescue personnel to learn how to deal with safety issues.

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Wrightstown academic honored for lifetime of achievement

Not all career paths are obvious right from childhood, but in the case of Mark Robson, it’s pretty much a straight line. Start with happy years growing up on a family farm in Jacobstown. Continue with studies at Rutgers University and degrees in agriculture and plant science, culminating in doctorates in plant science and environmental and occupational health. Add a teaching career and a rise to the position of dean of agricultural and urban programs at Rutgers. And now add in a lifetime achievement award for a researcher and teacher who has trained farmers in Thailand, Poland, China and the Philippines.

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Farming tradition fading

In July, Sunny Red Farm in Southampton closed. Its owners, Wayne and Roberta Shontz, sold the last of their dairy cows, and an auction company drove onto their farm and removed trucks and equipment. They had been raising dairy cows on their land along Birmingham Road since 1979, operating a dairy business that spanned three generations…In 1925, there were more than 1,400 dairy farms in Burlington County, according to Ray Samulis, the county agriculture agent for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Burlington County. The Shontz’s neighbor, Charles Davis, is now the sole dairy farmer in the county.

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Making hay not easy in the rain, say Burlington County farmers

In all his 17 years, young farmer Noah Bassett hasn’t seen anything like it – sun, followed by rain, almost every day. "It’s an interesting year, that’s for sure," he said dryly. "At the mildest, it’s worse than crazy," said Roger Kumpel, 71, of Greenfield Farms in Southampton. "This is not wet. This is totally drowned." June’s record-setting rainfall has affected every crop Kumpel and his son, Jeff, have planted on the 700 acres they farm…At the Rutgers University Agricultural Extension Service of Burlington County, agent Ray Samulis said farmers would "rather have it dry than soaking wet."

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Rutgers agent gives a helping hand to disabled farmers in Burlington County

Ray Samulis is Rutgers University’s agricultural extension agent in Burlington County. As such, he’s sort of a Mr. Fix-It for farmers. If they have a problem with a crop or a piece of equipment, Samulis is the man to call. If a farmer needs help, Samulis is the go-to guy, too. He’s the New Jersey coordinator for AgrAbility, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to help disabled farmers keep their farms and their livelihoods.

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Fuel savings a hot topic at Rutgers EcoComplex

Smog was nowhere to be found Wednesday when the Rutgers EcoComplex hosted a conference for industry experts to discuss the use of alternative fuels to help reduce vehicle-caused air pollution and save energy. The weather cooperated fully as conference attendees checked out pollution-reducing electric, natural-gas and propane vehicles parked on the complex lawn. More than 150 clean-energy experts and guests attended the conference, the second in a series sponsored by the center to discuss alternative-energy use.

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Snow job: Predicting March storms can be tricky

Mother Nature can be a tricky lady. Those looking for proof of that needed only to look at the ground Thursday morning. Parts of Virginia may have been pounded with nearly 2 feet of snow, but the Philadelphia and South Jersey regions received barely a flake, despite dire warnings from practically every television network in the region…"There is something about March and the change of season that can lead to some extreme storms as well as some underperformers or busts," said New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson, who is also a professor at Rutgers University.

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Haycock earns prestigious environmental certification

So intent was Julie Fagan on inspiring her hometown of Haycock to earn a prestigious environmental certification, she wore a bee costume to a supervisors meeting….An associate professor in the school of environmental and biological science at Rutgers University, Fagan went door to door discussing the initiative with residents and getting them to participate.

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