AGRICULTURE SECRETARY JOINS NEW RUTGERS PROFESSORS
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(LONG VALLEY) -- New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus and a group of Rutgers University professors today toured a cutting edge Morris County farm operation that utilizes many practices the Department of Agriculture advocates to ensure the viability of the agriculture industry into the future.
The new professors who are tenured or on tenure tracks and are new to the state or the country stopped at Valley Shepherd Creamery as part of their Rutgers New Faculty Traveling Seminar 2006 to learn more about New Jersey agriculture and the unique and innovative projects that allow producers to benefit from marketing opportunities in the Garden State.
“Valley Shepherd illustrates that new innovative farms are thriving in New Jersey,” said Secretary Kuperus. “Owner Eran Wajswol utilizes preserved farmland, integrates direct and wholesale marketing and utilizes the Jersey Fresh brand.”
Valley Shepherd Creamery is located on 120 acres of preserved farmland in Long alley, Morris County, which has been targeted for preservation through a Planning Incentive Grant to help ensure the agricultural viability in the Valley and the greater region. There are a total of 35 farms on 2,479 acres preserved in Long Valley in Morris County.
Valley Shepherd Creamery produces hand-made cheeses using sheep milk. The farm is unique in that it uses a rotating milking parlor for sheep and conveyor feeding belts for sheep; has an underground aging cave with a glass wall public viewing gallery; employs ultra modern animal waste management, turning the waste into compost for later sale; is an agri-tourism facility, offering tours of the facility and an educational gallery; and, sells farm products at community farmers markets in the state.
The farm also is a registered Jersey Fresh Dairy Producer and Processor and utilizes the Garden State Dairy Alliance, which provides support to dairy farmers to help sustain and grow the dairy industry in the state.
The new professors had to apply to participate in the traveling seminar. They represent multiple disciplines at each of the New Brunswick, Newark, Camden and Piscataway campuses. The annual event usually includes an agricultural stop.
“With the food and agriculture industries composing the third largest economic sector in New Jersey, college professors need to know how important they are to the state and that college graduates are in demand to fill the many positions needed to keep them viable and thriving,” said Secretary Kuperus. “Besides new initiatives to market our agricultural products, we are committed to farmland preservation to ensure the beautiful agricultural working landscape continues to contribute to New Jersey’s economy.”