NEW MEMBERS TAKE SEATS ON STATE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE
Norz, Swanekamp sworn in to 4-year terms
For Immediate Release: July 29, 2011
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – A diversified fourth generation farmer from Somerset County and a flower and plant grower from Monmouth County were sworn in as the two newest members of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the board’s reorganization meeting in Eastampton on July 27.
Richard Norz and Robert A. Swanekamp were selected for the positions at the February 2011 State Agricultural Convention and later nominated by Governor Chris Christie and confirmed by the State Senate.
“Rich Norz and Rob Swanekamp, and the farms they operate, exemplify the diversity of agriculture in New Jersey and are welcome additions to the State Board for their first-hand knowledge ranging from cow herding to agritourism,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “Their individual strengths and considerable experience will enhance the Board’s efforts to formulate policy to keep New Jersey agriculture viable and thriving into the future.”
Also during the reorganization meeting, Pittsgrove vegetable farmers Henry DuBois Jr. was selected to serve as Board President and East Brunswick fruit and vegetable farmer James Giamarese as Vice President.
Norz, a fourth-generation farmer, grows more than 1,100 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, hay, rye, pumpkins, sweet corn and vegetables on Norz Hill Farm in Hillsborough. He also operates a profitable agritourism business, including hayrides, farm tours, a corn maze, and U-pick pumpkins in fall and a produce stand stocked with Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer. He attended Manville High School and continued his education with courses in breeding and pesticide licensing before joining the family dairy and Holstein business. The family discontinued milking dairy cows in 2009, but are still raising about 100 dairy heifers.
Norz was a 2010 recipient of both the National Outstanding Young Farmer and New Jersey Outstanding Young Farmer Awards and the April 2009 Outstanding Community Service Award in Hillsborough. His previous leadership experience includes serving as President of the New Jersey Holstein Association, Vice President of the Central Jersey Holstein Association, President of the Somerset County 4-H Association, President of the Somerset County Board of Agriculture, and an appointed member of the Somerset County Agriculture Development Board and the Hillsborough Agricultural Commission.
Robert A. Swanekamp operates Kube Pak Garden Plants, a state-of-the-art wholesale greenhouse in Allentown, one of the top 10 producers of plugs and rooted cuttings in the U.S. Kube Pak produces a diverse range of plant life year-round from poinsettias to young vegetable plants.
Swanekamp serves on the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Agricultural Society and as a committee member for their Learning through Gardening program. He works with Allies, Inc. of New Jersey as an advisor to their community supported agriculture program for individuals with special needs in the state. He also was on the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Plant and Flower Growers and is a member of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association.
The State Board of Agriculture, comprising eight members, is the policy-making body of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Its members serve for four years, with two members being replaced each year. By law, at least four of its members must represent the top commodity groups in the state. Members serve without salary, but may be reimbursed for expenses. For more information, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/about/sba.