(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Bob Andrzejczak and Eric Houghtaling requiring the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to establish a “Value-Added Dairy Farming Program” cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.
“We should support our dairy farmers so that they can not only survive, but thrive,” said Committee Chairman Andrzejcak (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “This program will help us do just that.”
Under the bill (A-3810), the EDA must establish, maintain and administer a “Value-Added Dairy Farming Revolving Loan Fund,” as part of the program, as well as allocate $1,000,000 from monies available to the EDA for business development programs as the EDA deems appropriate.
“This is a program that will assist the growing needs of our dairy farmers,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “We must make our dairy products a commodity again.”
The EDA is required to make low-interest loans to qualified dairy farmers participating in the program to finance the expansion of value-added dairy production in New Jersey.
These loans will be awarded based on the criteria established by the EDA along with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and all repayments of loans and interest are required to be deposited in the revolving loan fund.
According to the bill, a “qualified dairy farmer” is considered to be a person or business entity that produces value-added dairy products and is independently owned and operated primarily in New Jersey.
“Value-added dairy products” are to include, at least, cheese, cultured sour cream, yogurt, kefir, butter, ice cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk and concentrated milk.