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Bryan, Cutts honored during NJFB annual meeting
By RICHARD SKELLY
PRINCETON, N.J. — After a locally-raised meal at the New Jersey Farm Bureau’s 97th annual meeting and a short talk by former Rutgers University Athletic Director Julie Herman, patrons of the Farm Bureau convention at the Westin Hotel recognized this year’s Distinguished Service Award winners.
Dorothy Bryan, a heavily-involved dairy farmer in Hopewell Township, and William J. Cutts, a cranberry farmer and lawyer from Tabernacle, were this year’s award winners.
In introducing her, Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam told the crowd that Bryan literally wrote the book on the history of the New Jersey Farm Bureau.
Bryan said she was born in Bergen County in 1926 but moved with her farming family to Hopewell Township near Pennington in 1928. She attended what was then called Trenton State Teachers’ College and taught physical education for three years following graduation in Washington Township Schools in Warren County.
“I taught grades 3 through 12, I had a basketball team, a girl’s hockey team, and we won some games and we lost a few,” she said, noting she married her husband Charles in September, 1951.
“Our two kids helped us out on the farm, but I was the bookkeeper, record-keeper and the go-fer. Those parts people would see me coming and they’d say, ‘Wow, I better have it on hand, or I’m in trouble.’ ”
“I made meals for four of us, every day, three times a day; I was a Girl Scout leader for many years, and a 4-H leader in cooking.
“My friend had the other part of the group, which was sewing. To this day, I realize, I should have picked sewing!”
Bryan served on the Mercer County Home Economics Council for 18 years, was and remains active in the Hopewell Presbyterian Church where she also taught Sunday school for a dozen years.
Bryan served on the Hopewell Township planning board in 1978 and 1979, “a challenging board to be on,” she said, and talked about a program she and her husband started, “Life on the Farm,” which showed young children and adults how dairy and vegetable farms worked.
“Usually we did it in the spring time,” Bryan said. “These programs were for children but also older people who also didn’t know much about cows, how much milk they gave, where they slept, etcetera.”
Bryan served on the Mercer County Board of Agriculture from September 1984 to June 1996, and served as the Mercer County representative to the Farm Bureau.
“I was the designer of the Farm Bureau afghan, back in 1994,” she related, “and the latest project was the history of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, finally published in 1996, but I worked on that for a good eight years. It was a challenge finding these people involved in all different areas of New Jersey agriculture. I visited a number of people who are no longer with us and went all over the state to talk to people.”
William J. Cutts, majored in Political Science at Rutgers and then got his law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in 1973.
Cutts lives and runs his cranberry farm in Tabernacle, a small town in Burlington County.
Cutts was nominated for the distinguished service award by farmers from neighboring Atlantic County and was cited for his ability to analyze complex government rules and interpret them for farmers.
“I want to thank Atlantic County people not only for nominating me but for your generosity of spirit for nominating someone from outside your county,” Cutts told the crowd, immediately acknowledging his wife Ginger and their three children.
“There are two things that sort of drive my philosophy. My brother and I are the third generation of brothers to grow cranberries in New Jersey. You don’t stay in business for three generations without engaging in some sort of team effort,” Cutts said.
“It doesn’t just happen, we are part of the Ocean Spray Cooperative. My family joined the cooperative the year I was born. If you join a cooperative, it’s all about sharing risks and sharing rewards,” he said. “The cranberry industry is a little industry, about 50,000 acres of cranberries grown worldwide and there are about eight million acres of soybeans grown in the U.S. alone, I think, so you can see we’re tiny.
“The only way we survive is by working together. I see agriculture as a team effort, in the field, at the market, and in Trenton.”
“When I thought about this award and reflected on the things I do, I realized I haven’t done a single thing on my own or by myself,” he said, “so for me, this award is a team effort. This award may have my name on it, but for me it’s a team effort for all of us working together.”
Patrons of the Farm Bureau dinner enjoyed free-range chicken from Griggstown Farm, an array of fresh vegetables from Hauser Hill Farms, a salad from Happy Valley Berry Farm, blueberries from F.W. Bush and Sons, ice cream from Alstede Farms and wine from Heritage Vineyards.
Beside each plate sat a small sample bottle of Trapper’s Honey, produced in Clarksburg, Monmouth County.
At other meals during the three-day Farm Bureau conference, eggs were furnished by Hazelman Farms, doughnuts furnished by Dreyer Farms and popcorn came from Simonson Farms.