Rutgers Ag Agent Richard Van Vranken Receives Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award

Photo i.d., l to r:  NJ State Board of Agriculture President Richard Norz, Richard VanVranken and NJ Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher

L-R: NJ State Board of Agriculture President Richard Norz, Richard VanVranken and New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher. Photo by Jack Rabin.

Source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture

Richard VanVranken, agricultural agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County, was honored February 4 with a Distinguished Service Citation to New Jersey Agriculture at the State Agricultural Convention held in Atlantic City.

“Rick VanVranken has served New Jersey’s agriculture industry with passion, dedication and enthusiasm for decades,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.  “His wealth of knowledge and knack for innovation and promotion has made him an indispensable resource for our farmers in South Jersey.” [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…]

Kendrin Dyitt and Amy Rowe Receive Rutgers Cooperative Extension Diversity Awards for 2014

RCE Director Larry Katz (l) awards Kendrin Dyitt

RCE Director Larry Katz (l) awards Kendrin Dyitt

Each year, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), honors faculty and staff for their outstanding work and outreach through their programs and support. The winners for 2014 received their awards at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Annual Conference at the Cook Campus Center in New Brunswick on October 20.

The purpose of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Awards for Diversity is to recognize outstanding efforts and accomplishments in achieving and sustaining diversity in Extension organizations, programs, and audiences. The two recipients for the Diversity Awards for 2014 are Kendrin Dyitt, Atlantic County 4-H urban program associate in the 4-H Youth Development Department and Amy Rowe, environmental and resource management agent, RCE Essex and Passaic Counties from the Agricultural and Resource Management Agents Department. [Read more…]

Faculty, Staff and Volunteers Receive Rutgers Cooperative Extension Excellence Awards for 2014

Staci Peterson accepted the Volunteer Excellence Awards on behalf of her and her husband Matt.

Staci Peterson accepted the Volunteer Excellence Awards on behalf of her and her husband Matt.

Each year, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), honors faculty and staff for their outstanding work and outreach through their programs and support. The winners for 2014 received their awards at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Annual Conference at the Cook Campus Center in New Brunswick on October 20.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Excellence Awards are to recognize faculty, staff and volunteers who demonstrate outstanding performance and creativity, and how their contribution to Extension has resulted in a positive change or has made a significant impact and enhanced RCE at a local county, state and/or national level. The Award for Volunteer Excellence was awarded to Sherrie and Matt Peterson, Hunterdon County 4-H volunteers; the Award of Excellence for Support Staff recipient is Anita Wagner, keyboarding clerk 3, RCE of Atlantic County and  the Award of Excellence for a Program Associate was awarded to Marycarmen Kunicki, 4-H senior program coordinator, RCE of Passaic County. [Read more…]

What’s in Season from the Garden State: Farm to Fork Food Waste? It Depends on Your Perspective

What happens to the farm produce that doesn't make the grade? One use is to supply local food banks by "gleaning" the produce left in the field.

What happens to the farm produce that doesn’t make the grade? One use is to supply local food banks by “gleaning” the produce left in the field.

By Rick VanVranken, Agricultural and Resource Management Agent, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County

August “Augie” Wuillermin, co-owner/operator with his brother, Ed Jr., of Ed Wuillermin & Sons Farm in Hammonton, NJ, turned in disgust and grumbled, “Some days I just have to stay out [of the packing house] when the peppers come in this way. It’s sickening. Seems like such a waste!”

Is waste an opportunity lost?

Economists talk about ‘opportunity cost’, loosely defined as the value of something that must be given up in order to do something else. Every resource has alternative uses, so every choice has opportunity cost(s).

Waste comes into play when the investment of time, energy and labor does not create the intended outcome and the alternatives do little to cover those costs. Hence, from grower to consumer, technologies and practices are employed to reduce potential losses as much as possible. Sorting machines fine tune the sizing and separating of defective produce. Packaging engineers design containers that maximize air flow to allow efficient cooling while maintaining strength to protect the fragile contents during storage and shipping. [Read more…]