Philippine reps visit Middlesex Extension

Managing Editor

NORTH BRUNSWICK (June 15, 2014) — On two separate trips this spring, agriculture officials from the Philippines visited New Jersey to learn about the interaction between Extension and farmers.
Meeting with Middlesex County Extension officials and touring Giamarese Farm in East Brunswick, on April 4 and May 28, Philippines Department of Agriculture officials learned about the 4-H Youth Development program and agriculture education components of Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
Emerson Palad, undersecretary for operations of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, said from the trip he attended in May, that he came away with a good understanding of how citizens benefit from the land grant system and would work to implement some of the concepts in his country.
“We are trying to learn from the different schemes that you have here. I think this is something we can implement in the Philippines,” he said in a telephone interview following the May visit. “It’s a key to advancement to the ag sector back here.”
Palad and Bill Hlubik, Middlesex County Extension ag agent, who served as a guide for the visitors on the two trips, both said New Jersey was a good fit to explore for them because of many farmers who have adapted to farming near urban centers, involving agritourism, CSA programs, and retail farm markets in their operations.
“A lot of what they’re trying to pick up is that direct connection with universities to solve real world problems,” Hlubik said.
The Philippine visitors got a good dose of how farmers adapted at Giamarese Farm, meeting with farm owner, Jim Giamarese.
“Jim did a terrific job in explaining the diversity of his farm,” Hlubik said.
Palad said he plans to meet with other Philipine officials to discuss what could be used from the United States model which may lead to more trips to New Jersey or even bringing New Jersey officials to the Philippines.
Hlubik said for him, the visits, and others like them he’s hosted in the past, serve as a good reminder of how fortunate it is to have an established network in place to disseminate research information from universities to the public.
“We do take a lot of this for granted,” he said. “A lot of countries don’t have what we have.”