FDU: 56% of New Jerseyans Want Open Space Solely for Intended Purpose

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A majority of New Jersey residents reject the practice of spending open space funding for other purposes and Jersey Fresh produce and farm stands are preferred by consumers seeking locally grown food choices, according to the most recent statewide survey of New Jersey adults from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind and sponsored by the New Jersey Farm Bureau.

Over half (56%) say funds dedicated for open space should be used for their intended purpose, rather than for other environmental purposes.  In the past year, a portion of the funds dedicated to preserve open space was used for other environmental purposes. “The public affirms our opinion that the basic purpose of the 2014 ballot question was to continue the progress of the state’s land acquisition programs for which New Jersey is recognized as a leader throughout the country,” said NJ Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam.  “These results underscore the need for the legislature to move swiftly in disbursing these funds among the open space programs, including for farmland preservation acquisitions.”

Locally grown fruits and vegetables continue to attract the vast majority of New Jersey consumers. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) respondents purchased Jersey Fresh or locally grown produce in the past 3 months. This finding is similar to results of PublicMind surveys from 2010 (83%) and 2011 (87%), and up from 77 percent the last time this question was asked in 2013.

When asked where they purchase locally grown produce, the majority (52%) said from the supermarket.  Notable, however, is the fact that 4 in 5 (81%) indicated they have purchased Jersey Fresh produce directly from farmers, either at farm markets (42%) or farmer’s stands (39%)  Well placed signs are cited by many (68%) as key to their decision to buy Jersey Fresh produce over other choices.

“The results make clear that New Jersey consumers continue to prioritize farm-fresh produce grown in state,” said Suydam.  “Whether purchased from a grocery store or direct from the farmer at a community farm market or roadside stand, an ever-increasing cross-section of New Jerseyans are actively seeking out local farm products,” he added.

The same survey asked New Jerseyans about the state’s inheritance tax.  Currently the law allows $675k of inheritance to be passed to family members tax-free.  The majority (51%) of residents would favor raising this limit. A fifth (18%) oppose any increase and a third (29%) believe an increase would make no difference to them.

Finally, the poll asked about the Canada Geese population in the state and the challenges it poses for Garden State residents. About a third (34%) say Canada geese pose a serious problem directly to them, a number that is virtually unchanged from 39 percent in 2011. Similar numbers favor (44%) additional wildlife management controls to reduce the number of Canada geese in their area as would oppose (44%).

Methodology – The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey was conducted by landline and cellular telephone November 9-15, 2015 among a random statewide sample of 906 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.3 points, including the design effect.

FDU: 56% of New Jerseyans Want Open Space Solely for Intended Purpose