New Jersey Ag News
New members take seats on State Board of Agriculture
TRENTON — A Monmouth County hay and grain farmer and a Burlington County fruit and vegetable grower were sworn in as the two newest members of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the board’s reorganization meeting in Eastampton on Aug. 22.
Martin Bullock and Marilyn L. Russo were selected for the positions at the January 2012 State Agricultural Convention and later nominated by Gov. Chris Christie and confirmed by the State Senate.
“Martin Bullock and Marilyn Russo’s families have been farming in New Jersey for generations,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher. “With their vast knowledge and leadership experience, they are fabulous additions to the State Board, which sets policy for agriculture.”
Also during the reorganization meeting, James Giamarese, an East Brunswick vegetable farmer, was selected to serve as board president and Dr. Lewis J. DeEugenio Jr., a Glassboro fruit farmer, as vice president.
Bullock operates Bullock Farms along with his brother, their wives and children.
The home farm in Upper Freehold Township has been in the family since 1860. They also rent land in Ocean and Burlington counties. They grow 200 acres of soybeans, 150 acres of corn, 40 acres of wheat, 40 acres of pumpkins, gourds and winter squash and 60 acres of rye.
During the winter, they have a choose and cut Christmas tree operation, also selling wreathes, blankets and gifts. Last season, the farm began growing heirloom tomatoes, with plans to expand to other vegetables.
A graduate of Allentown High School, Bullock has been an active leader in the agricultural industry, serving as an officer on the Monmouth County Board of Agriculture since 1985 and the county Agricultural Development Board since 2002.
He serves as a director for the New Jersey Grain and Forage Council and Farmers Brokerage and Supply. He has held positions on the New Jersey Soybean Board and Mid-Atlantic Soybean Board and served as a supervisor for the Freehold Soil Conservation District.
The Russo family has been farming in New Jersey since 1960, establishing Russo’s Orchard Lane Farm in Chesterfield in the 1970’s.
The 300-acre farm, run by Marilyn, her husband, Nicholas, and their son, Michael, has a seasonal farm market, pick-your-own fruits and vegetables and offers educational tours and birthday parties.
Their fall activities include a corn maze, pumpkin picking and hay rides. The Russos sell their produce at the Trenton Farmers Market, which Nicholas’ grandfather, Anthony, helped to establish.
Marilyn Russo also has taken a leadership role in her community. She is a member of the Burlington County Board of Agriculture and the New Jersey Farm Bureau and Burlington County Farm Bureau’s Women’s Committees.
She served with the Burlington County Farm Fair for many years and was on the Rutgers Board of Managers. She also was a Northern Burlington Regional High School Board of Education member, serving as president from 1990 to 1992.
Russo is a graduate of Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly.
The State Board of Agriculture, comprising eight members, is the policy-making body of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Its members serve for four years, with two members being replaced each year. By law, at least four of its members must represent the top commodity groups in the state. Members serve without salary, but may be reimbursed for expenses.
For more information, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/about/sba.