2007 Outstanding Young Farmer Award
Peter L. MelickThe Melick family is considered an institution in Hunterdon County mainly, because they’ve been farming its rolling hills around Oldwick, New Jersey since the 1700’s. Peter Melick continues the family’s tradition as a tenth generation farmer who’s committed to agriculture.
After graduating from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1989, Peter began farming full time in the family business and grabbed the reigns of ownership with his brother, John. During that time they had only one farm market. Peter says, in order to maintain viability and market share – they transformed their 300-acre operation from mostly wholesale marketing to direct marketing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and value-added farm products including: meats, pies, cider, flowers, firewood and much more. They made it all happen by utilizing three permanent farm markets, two pick your-own operations, three tailgate markets, their continued wholesale business as well as incorporating agri-tourism activities.
Leadership appears to be something Peter acquired from his father George, who was a committeeman for nearly two decades, mayor five times and is presently a Freeholder in Hunterdon County for twenty-four years. So, there was no surprise with Peter’s expansion into agriculture and community leadership roles that include past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture, chair of the Hunterdon County Board of Agriculture, the Agricultural Society andClass-1 of the Agriculture Leadership Development Program. He’s also the current chief of the Oldwick Fire Company. Peter and wife Denise, who is a leader in her own right as a vice president of Chubb Insurance, are the proud parents of three boys.
Peter says, practicing conservation tillage, irrigation management and contributions to the community are significant elements to the success of his family’s business and his recognition as the state’s 2007 Outstanding Young Farmer. However, he’s quick to point out that in the farming business one person can’t take all the credit for such an accomplishment; because his wife, brother, father and mother contribute to the farm’s success. He also adds, just to be farming in this state is an accomplishment and anyone who’s farming now should get an award.