Looking to Rein in New Jersey’s Surging Deer Population

WNYC | February 20, 2019 | Energy & Environment
Farmers, environmental groups, and park operators have formed a coalition to grapple with a deer population they say is out of control

Ryck Suydam, president of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, a Trenton-based nonprofit that represents 10,000 farmers across the state, says New Jersey’s surging deer population is costing the state’s farmers a lot of green, like the $8 million they eat out of soybean growers’ profits every year.

Credit: Karen Rouse/WNYC News
Farmer Ryck Suydam of the New Jersey Farm Bureau
Suydam refers to the deer as both “majestic” and as a “gang” that, at night, go out and “terrorize the neighborhood.” The conflicting descriptions capture the complicated relationship between New Jersey residents who settle in the suburbs for open skies and nature, and the deer population that has grown beyond what they care to tolerate.

“We’re out of balance ecologically,” Suydam said. “It’s not healthy for the ecology… It’s not healthy for the economy, and it’s not healthy for people living in New Jersey.” Suydam, through the Farm Bureau, is spearheading a coalition that includes farmers, environmental groups, and local park operators that are trying to grapple with a deer population they say is out of control.

Read the full story on WNYC News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.