|2000 Annual Report|
The State Board of Agriculture is New Jersey's highest official agricultural body and is responsible for establishing policies within the framework of agricultural laws for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. As part of that role, the eight-member Board approves rules and regulations, sets program priorities and approves budget requests.
The policies set by this Board affect the state's agricultural community and, therefore, state law mandates that the members of the Board must be people who are involved in producing farm crops or livestock products. In carrying out its responsibilities during the year, the Board held special public meetings and participated in other farm and agriculture-related activities to become fully aware of the issues facing agriculture.
State Board committees focused on challenges facing agriculture during the year, especially wildlife damage and control; Farm Service Agency program benefits; additional risk management tools to help New Jersey farmers weather market and crop losses; and the critical need for water availability at all times for the state's agriculture industry.
Roger J. Ruske, a Cumberland County nurseryman, was elected president and Bix L. DiMeo, a Monmouth County horse breeder, was named vice-president of the State Board of Agriculture in July 1999. Two new Board members, David J. Kanach, Somerset County, and Russell J. Marino, Gloucester County, representing New Jersey's dairy/grain/forage and vegetable industries, respectively, took their seats on the Board. Other Board members were Abbott W. Lee, Burlington County, and Douglas Zee, Gloucester County, fruit industry; Steven R. Jany, Mercer County, and Thomas A. Brodhecker, Sussex County, grain/forage.
All Board members are elected at the State Agricultural Convention, nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the New Jersey Senate.