2006 Distinguished Service Award Recipients
Stanley KanachThe late Stanley Kanach was a dedicated farmer and owner of River Lea Farm, a beautiful, meticulously cared for Dairy, forage and grain operation covering 875 acres nestled in Somerset County. Mr. Kanach was always very proud of the farm he built and wanted to share his business by assisting others with learning about New Jersey’s agricultural industry.
He was said to be an Agriculture Ambassador who was dedicated to educating our elected officials and the public about farming. Mr. Kanach opened up his farm to the public and gave freely of his time to create goodwill with his neighbors and anyone who was interested. Visiting Stanley Kanach’s farm became an event that drew world leaders, foreign dignitaries, Governors, state legislators and local officials.
Mr. Kanach worked with the International Affairs Department for the AFL-CIO to assist them with administering training programs for African Trade Unionists; River Lea Farm had several Somerset County Dairy open houses with gatherings of as many as 3000 people at a time. New Jersey’s Agricultural Society Teachers Tour came through for an up-close and personal look at Kanach’s dairy operation. Governor Christie Whitman utilized his farm to promote a Ballot Question, which created a long term funding source for Farmland Preservation. The Governor also used Stanley’s farm as a backdrop for signing a USDA requested drought declaration when Somerset County was hit by the worst drought damage in the state.
He had a passion for the land and never tired of trying to help others understand the importance of farming. Stanley’s efforts of being a conduit for the industry many times yielded great benefits. Specifically, as a result of a stop, on a two-day Agricultural Society’s Legislator Tour at River Lea Farm, local farmers received a grant aid package for $20 million.
He was an active member of New Jersey Farm Bureau, Somerset County Board of Agriculture, Belle Mead Farmers Co-op and Consumers-Farmer Milk Co-op. Aside from providing opportunities to educate the public about agriculture he was committed to his church, Mary Mother of God and the Knights of Columbus. He received a number of awards for his work: Somerset-Union Soil Conservation District Cooperator in 1983 and 1992. He was the first in the state to receive the Dairy of Distinction Award, which, he received twice.
Stanley and Mary Ann Kanach were married and business partners for 62 years. Their union produced two sons David and Charles. He kept himself busy and sought knowledge to make his farm and agriculture better in New Jersey. Mary Ann said her husband just wanted to see beautiful crops and things grow. Stanley Kanuch died August 26, 2004, at the golden age of 86.