‘The damage is already done.’ New Jersey farms struggle amid drought, supply chain issues

New Jersey’s farmers say they are struggling due to the ongoing drought, coupled with supply chain issues.

News 12 Staff

Sep 2, 2022, 9:53 PM

Updated 652 days ago

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New Jersey’s farmers say they are struggling due to the ongoing drought, coupled with supply chain issues.
“At this point, the damage is already done,” says Jim Abma, owner of Abma Farms.
The farm is headquartered in Wyckoff. But Abma’s wholesale farm is located in Hillsborough, Somerset County. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that almost all of Somerset County is under a severe drought.
"Since the last week of May here in Hillsborough we've only gotten 1.78 inches of rain on this farm here. Your normal vegetable crops require a minimum of an inch, inch and a half of water per week just to grow in a normal condition,” Abma says.
He has built an irrigation system that runs underneath all his crops to keep them quenched. He says that without it, he would be out of business.
But not every farmer has a system like this, and it is not cheap to operate.
"It costs fuel. It costs time. It costs energy. It costs wear and tear on parts and equipment,” Abma says.
And the drought is only one side of the issue. The other side is supply chain issues.
Abma says that farmers need more than just seeds, dirt and water.
“Look at a farm as a whole business. We need supplies to operate,” he says.
Supplies like boxes, irrigation supplies, fuel and machine parts. Abma says that there are ways that the public can help.
“Look at the Jersey Fresh sticker. Buy Jersey Fresh. Come out, get educated on it. We’re here just trying to give consumers the best product we can,” he says.
Abma Farms, like many others in New Jersey, supplies big grocery store chains with dozens of fruits and vegetables. They need boxes to ship all of their yields out to those stores.


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