Born and raised on the family farm in Pennington, Johnson was a manager at the Farmers' Cooperative Association of New Jersey from 1946 until 1975 when he became manager of Farmers' Brokerage and Supply, retiring in 1987. During his tenure with Farmers' Brokerage and Supply, Johnson instituted instant receipt of Chicago Board of Trade quotes via satellite dish receiver and made sure that grain bids were broadcast on radio and available by telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Johnson's agricultural affiliations and volunteer service to agricultural organizations is well known.
As member of the Lawrenceville Grange #170; the Mercer County Pomona Grange #5; the New Jersey State Grange; the National Grange, Johnson has held a number of leadership positions. He served as Chair of the Legislative Committee and Past Master of the Lawrenceville Grange. He was elected to 17 consecutive two-year terms on the Executive Committee of the New Jersey State Grange and served as the committee's chairman as well. Throughout his membership in the New Jersey State Grange, Johnson has worked to ensure policy coordination between the Grange, the New Jersey Farm Bureau and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture so that the three groups speak with one voice on behalf of the industry.
Johnson has devoted countless hours to the development of the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture in New Brunswick and has served as both trustee and first vice-president. He received the Museum President's Award for Service and was responsible for implementing the popular antique tractor and Amish quilt raffles, which are major fund raisers for the Museum.
A long-time member of the New Jersey Agricultural Society, Johnson was a member of the Public Information Policy Committee which suggested the Society's logo and motto, "Agriculture Keeps New Jersey Green."
Johnson is also a long standing member of the New Jersey Farm Bureau where he now serves as convention coordinator; past president of the Princeton Agricultural Association; trustee of the Howell Living History Farm; a charter member of the New Jersey Soybean Industry Advisory Council; a member of the Mercer County Board of Agriculture; and a certified mediator for the State Agriculture Development Committee's right-to-farm program. Johnson is a recipient of the Mercer County Board of Agriculture's Distinguished Service to New Jersey Agriculture Award.
Johnson has also found time to serve his community having been a member of the Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education, for which he received their Award for Service, and of the Hopewell Township Republican Committee. He also served in the U.S. Army 8th Air Force from 1943-1945.
Johnson and his wife Mardella have a son, James, daughter in law, Kathleen and granddaughter, Julia.
In recognition of and appreciation for his lifelong service to New Jersey's agricultural industry, the State Board of Agriculture is proud to present James E. Johnson with its citation for Distinguished Service to New Jersey Agriculture Award.