Since 1932, the SBOA has awarded the prestigious citation for “Distinguished Service to Agriculture” to individuals who have given of their time and talents to the advancement and betterment of the agricultural industry and rural life in New Jersey. The award recognizes and honors those individuals who have made outstanding contributions of public service to New Jersey agriculture. Up to six Distinguished Service awards can be given each year, with a maximum of four awards to farmers and two to non-farmers. This year Kline was a joint recipient with Mercer County grain grower Steven R. Jany.
Kline is responsible for the commercial vegetable and herb production programs in Cumberland County. His research and extension activities are based on growers’ needs in integrated pest management, cultural practices and post-harvest handling. In recent years, Kline has focused on food safety, cultural systems related to phytophthora blight of pepper and production systems for tomato. Along with RCE senior program coordinator Meredith Melendez, Kline conducts extensive programming for farmers that focus on compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Other Rutgers NJAES faculty who have received the Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture in recent years include retired faculty Jerome Frecon, Arthur Brown, Ed Milewski and William Roberts, and the late Sridhar Polavarpu and Jonathan Forsell.
Also receiving an award at the convention banquet was Andy Wyenandt, Rutgers NJAES specialist in vegetable pathology, who received the 2014 Charles & Lena Maier Research Award presented by the Vegetable Growers’ Association of New Jersey. Wyenandt received this award for his research on “Managing cucurbit downy mildew with disease monitoring, cultivar resistance, and effective fungicide programs.”