LETTER – measure offering simple permit to reduce damage caused by wildlife passes committee

The Assembly Agriculture Committee today advanced legislation making it easier for farmers to protect crops from deer and other wildlife.

Sponsored by Assemblymen Parker Space and Ronald Dancer, the bill (A792) creates a multi-species permit that allows farmers or authorized agents to obtain a single permit to kill multiple species known to cause crop damage on their property.

“Farmers face a never-ending battle with wildlife that can strip plantings and profitability out of a field,” said Space (R-Sussex). “Deer, geese, turkey, starlings and other birds, bear and beavers are all attracted to the open space and the healthy plants of our farmland. Expanded depredation permits allow farmers to contain the threat to food production and the species that are destroying local crops.”

Crop loss costs New Jersey farmers almost $300 million every year.

“The damage and destruction caused by wildlife jeopardizes the livelihood of farmers who are vital to our state,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “When a flock of geese swoop down and devour acres of tender seedlings, or starlings strip a newly seeded field, the impact can be devastating to the family farms that are the heart and soul of agriculture in our state. This bill is a responsible solution for farmers who must defend their land.”

Depredation permits are issued by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.