Some New Jersey farming is for the birds

    Audubon Society recruits farmers in New Jersey to plant a new cash crops — sunflowers. Harvested for bird seeds, the sunflowers yield more earnings for farmers than soy. or other crops.

    Garden State farmers are trying a new crop that may prove more lucrative than soy or corn.

    The New Jersey Audubon Society has recruited farmers in North Jersey to raise sunflowers. Troy Ettel said the conservation group wants the sunflower seeds to sell as birdseed. He said the group is trying to find some South Jersey farmers since the growing season begins up to three weeks earlier in that end of the state.

    “Peak demand for the bird seed really starts warming up October 1 and it’s really hard for our Central and North Jersey farmers to be ready at that time,” said Ettel. “They just need a little bit more time for their seed to mature. We have talked with our existing farmers and we though we need our seed geographically distributed throughout the state.”

    Ettel said the farmers can earn more growing sunflowers rather than soy or other crops while still allowing Audubon to make a profit on the birdseed.

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