Announcement from Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, Senior Associate Director, NJAES; Director, Office of Administration and Strategic Development; and Director, Resource and Economic Development at Rutgers.
On Sept. 1, 2021, the role of director of the Rutgers Specialty Crop Research and Extension Center at Cream Ridge (formerly the Rutgers Fruit and Ornamental Research and Extension Center), currently held by Joseph Goffreda, will transition to Dean Polk, Agriculture & Natural Resources County Agent I and Fruit IPM Coordinator. Dean will serve as interim director through June 30, 2022.
Joe has served as farm director since 1995, while also building a nationally recognized tree fruit breeding program. His work has generated over 30 patents for peaches, nectarines, apricots and apples. We thank Joe for his commitment to the farm for the last 26 years and wish him continued success with his breeding program.
Dean began his career at Rutgers in 1980 and launched the fruit IPM program in 1981. This began as a county-based program in Camden County. Under Dean’s leadership, it grew into a statewide program highly valued by growers, encompassing tree fruit, blueberries, grapes and a grant-funded program for honey bee health.
In the coming year, we will begin implementing improvements to Cream Ridge farm as part of the NJAES Vision 2025 initiative. This will include much-needed investments in farm facilities and infrastructure, including the replacement of the on-site dam, irrigation upgrades and improved soil management. Farm research and operating polices will be updated to support a broader range of research, outreach and demonstration programs needed by the state’s agricultural industry and other stakeholders. Dean will provide leadership and guidance to ensure the successful implementation of these plans.
Please join me in thanking Joe for his service as director and congratulating Dean for taking on this important role!