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Climate change poses a threat to New Jersey's cash crops

Posted: Updated:
PRINCETON -

While many enjoyed a relatively mild winter, warmer temperatures are making it harder to grow some popular crops in the Garden State.

Every year, fruit crops like blueberries, apples and peaches account for $125 million in revenue for state farmers. These fruits have always been able to flourish, but over the last four decades, a changing climate has threatened New Jersey's thriving agricultural exports.

"As warming becomes a little more rapid, we are going to see things like the blueberries down in Hammonton may be grown a little farther north than they are right now," says Climate Central meteorologist Sean Sublette. "So these climate zones continuing to move north will have an impact on these crops that are very typical of New Jersey."

Many kinds of apples also need a cold climate to grow, and as it is, they are barely able to grow in central and northern parts of the state.

Data from Climate Central has shown planting zones have shifted about 20 miles north and west from the Jersey Turnpike toward I-287. Another trend that supports the changes is temperature information from Newark -- the coldest overnight temperatures in Newark have gone up by about 4 degrees in the last 50 years.

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