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Swedesboro Vegetable & Fruit Grower Joins State Board of Agriculture
For Immediate Release: July 30, 1999 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


Russell J. Marino of Swedesboro, Gloucester County, was sworn in recently as a member of the State Board of Agriculture representing the vegetable industry. His term expires in 2003. Marino' farm, Sun Valley Orchards, consists of 1,200 acres of fresh peaches, tomatoes, peppers and pickles and is one of the largest and most innovative fresh market vegetable and fruit farms in New Jersey. The farm is a family-run operation managed by Marino and his brothers. Marino' wife, Judy, handles the public relations and bookkeeping functions of the business and their two sons, Russ, Jr. and Joe, have recently joined in the management of the farm. Marino has initiated several innovative farming methods to improve crop production and farm efficiency. Tomatoes and peppers are produced using stake culture, plastic mulch and drip irrigation. Plastic tunnels are placed over the pickle and cantaloupe crops in the spring to promote early season growth. Rather than rely on out-of-state sources, Marino uses greenhouses to produce his own vegetable transplants. The business includes a modern vegetable-packing line with automatic sizing and relies on its own modern cooling facility for product storage. Marino graduated from Kingsway Regional High School in 1968 and has been extremely active in New Jersey' agricultural community. Since 1972, he has been a member of Gloucester County Board of Agriculture, having served as past president and a member of the Gloucester County Farm Bureau, where he served as a director from 1989 to 1997. He was also a member of the American Farm Bureau Labor Committee from 1991 to 1998. Because of his interest in farmland preservation, Marino has been a member of the Gloucester County Agricultural Development Board since 1987 and currently serves as its chairman. He is also an active member and director of the New Jersey Tomato Council; director and vice president of the New Jersey Peach Council; member of the Swedesboro, Landisville Produce and Vineland Produce Auctions; former director of the Farm Credit of Rancocas; and director of the Woodstown Agway. Marino was a member of the South Harrison Township Committee as a committeeman from 1981 to 1996, serving as mayor for 13 of those years and as deputy mayor for one. He was re-elected to the Committee in 1997 and currently serves as mayor. During his tenure on the Township Committee, Marino created the first full time Police Chief position, supervised construction of the Municipal Building and Community Center and used his own equipment to help the Township develop parks and ball fields. Marino has served on the South Harrison Township Planning Board since 1974 and has been an alternate member of the South Harrison Township Environmental Committee since 1986. David J. Kanach, a dairy farmer from Branchburg, Somerset County, was also sworn in as a member of the State Board of Agriculture representing the dairy industry. The State Board of Agriculture elected Roger Ruske of Millville, Cumberland County, to serve as president and Bix DiMeo of Colts Neck, Monmouth County, as vice president. Other members of the Board are Abbott Lee of Chatsworth, Steven Jany of Hightstown, Thomas A. Brodhecker of Newton and Douglas Zee of Glassboro. The eight-member State Board of Agriculture is the highest official policy-making body in the state. Only those who are involved in producing farm crops or livestock products are eligible and membership must represent each of the four leading agricultural commodities.