Former Essex County Agriculture Agent John Kupcho Honored For Distinguished Service to Agriculture

L-R: Richard Norz, President of the NJ State Board of Agriculture, John Kupcho and NJ Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.

L-R: Richard Norz, President of the NJ State Board of Agriculture, John Kupcho and Douglas Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture. Photo courtesy of NJDA.

Douglas H. Fisher

Source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture

John (Jack) Kupcho of West Caldwell, retired Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Essex County Agricultural Agent, was honored February 4 with a Distinguished Service Citation to New Jersey Agriculture at the State Agricultural Convention held in Atlantic City.

“Jack Kupcho changed the way farmers do business in New Jersey, helping to guide the industry toward direct marketing and high value crops,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “The state agriculture industry owes a lot to Jack. He has been an innovator who has inspired younger agriculture agents as well as farmers.”

Jack Kupcho (GSNB – Soils and Crops ’74) earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Tennessee. He received his Master of Science in Environmental Science and Urban Planning from Rutgers University. He currently holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Rutgers. [Read more…]

Mark Robson and Karl Matthews Appointed SEBS Department Chairs

Announcement from Robert M. Goodman, Executive Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences

Mark Robson

Mark Robson

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of two new department chairs in our school, and also extend heartfelt thanks to those stepping down as chairs.

The next chair of the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology is Dr. Mark Robson. Mark is a highly active research and teaching scholar with a strong record also of professional and university service. He sustains a strong and well-funded research program focused on agricultural issues in South and Southeast Asia. He recently stepped down as Dean of Agricultural and Urban Programs; during the time he held that position he played a key leadership role in rebuilding our “new” major in Agriculture and Food Systems. Mark is also highly engaged as an instructor and student (grad and undergrad) advisor. He will continue to play his roles in cooperative extension where he has oversight supporting county mosquito control programs and selected other aspects in the area of public health. Mark’s appointment as department chair is effective January 1, 2015. [Read more…]

Rutgers Research on Nature in Cities Featured in National Magazine

Myla Aronson at an urban field site on the Rahway River, NJ.

Myla Aronson at an urban field site on the Rahway River, NJ.

Myla Aronson (GSNB ‘07 Ph.D.), research scientist in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, has conducted far-reaching research that shows cities are not concrete jungles but instead harbor a variety of native birds and plants. Her work supports the argument that planning greenspaces in cities with biodiversity in mind benefits both people and nature. Read more about Aronson’s groundbreaking study of biodiversity in cities across the globe in National Wildlife magazine.

Sustainable Farming on the Urban Fringe: A Winter’s Tale of Two Fields

Two fields on opposite sides of one road.

Two fields on opposite sides of the same road.

Jack Rabin (CC ’78), NJAES director of farm programs, shares “Farm Calls” on the Sustainable Farming on the Urban Fringe blog. A picture is worth a thousand words in this post on cover crops.

This fall, a leading Jersey vegetable grower asked, “What’s with all the recent media hype about cover crops? I’m getting ads, USDA NRCS promotions and trade magazine articles about something we already know all about.”

He’s not alone in holding this opinion; ag agents have come to similar conclusions. “We know about cover crops. Farmers know about cover crops. Cover crops have been researched, demonstrated, and their costs and benefits established for over a century. There’s nothing innovative for growers and nothing new to teach.”

The thing is, many growers haven’t adopted cover crops. For example, take the fields I came across while driving down to a recent meeting. Who can resist checking out other farmers’ fields while traveling, whether it’s your neighbor down the road or fields far from home? On this detour, there were hundreds of acres seeded with a cover crop mix of cereal rye and oilseed radish (aka tillage radish). But, something caught my eye so I stopped to take a look. [Read more…]

Alumni Story: Arthur R. Brown, Jr. (GSNB-Horticulture ’77) – Always Jersey Fresh

New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary of Agriculture Art Brown

New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary of Agriculture Art Brown

Paging through the many personal photo albums that Art Brown’s staff and friends have compiled for him over the years, one is struck by his cheerful exuberance in the images. Clearly, Art Brown is a person who enjoyed his career as New Jersey’s longtime Secretary of Agriculture. And New Jersey enjoyed his valuable contributions during his decades-long tenure.

The leading architect of the popular “Jersey Fresh” marketing campaign that broke new ground by focusing on locally grown produce and became a model for such programs nationally, Art was tireless in promoting New Jersey agriculture in its various forms. He is shown tasting a spoonful of honey at a fair, eating Jersey corn or a leg of Jersey-bred turkey, posing with a prize-winning rabbit, sampling fresh oysters, picking pumpkins, sitting astride a cutting horse, making the rounds at the county fairs, shaking hands at the Horse Park of New Jersey, promoting Jersey Fresh products for school lunches, and on and on. [Read more…]