HomeCranbury PressCranbury Press NewsHillsborough, Cranbury farmers recognized for 'devotion to farming in New Jersey'

Hillsborough, Cranbury farmers recognized for ‘devotion to farming in New Jersey’

Seven farmers and others actively involved in New Jersey agriculture received Distinguished Service to Agriculture Citations from the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention recently.

Those honored at the Joint Agricultural Convention Dinner Banquet were Dave Bond, Sam Conard, Alan Danser, Dan Farrand, Monique Purcell, David Van Vorst, each for 2022; along with 2021 winner Dr. Mel Henninger.

“Each of these individuals is highly regarded for their experience, expertise and contributions that have benefitted agriculture in the Garden State,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said in a prepared statement. “Their devotion to farming in New Jersey is legendary.”

Dave Bond, of Hunterdon County, is a fourth-generation farmer who has owned and operated the Bond Family Farm since 1965.

Sam Conard, of Somerset County, retired in 2016 and was the owner and operator of S.R. Conard and Sons, a farming operation of 1,250 acres based in Hillsborough. It is a sixth-generation family farm that features hay, straw and grain. The operation has been in business for more than 100 years.

Conard is currently a member of the Somerset County Board of Agriculture, where he has served since 1998 and has been the vice president; has been a member of the New Jersey Farm Bureau since 1975; and has been on the Board of Directors of Belle Mead Farmers since 2002, where he is secretary, according to the statement.

Alan Danser focused much of his operation on corn and soybeans since 1987 after growing potatoes and grain up until then. President of Danser & Bloom Farm in Cranbury, he retired from farming in 2020.

Danser provided leadership to the agricultural community throughout his career. This included serving on the Middlesex County Agricultural Development Board (MCADB).

He was readily available to work together with agricultural organizations and associations, including the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension Service. He provided leadership county-wide through his service on the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture, according to the statement.

Dan Farrand, of Morris County, is the owner and operator of Harbe Dan Farms, which produces soybeans corn, hay and oats on 700 permanently preserved acres.

Monique Purcell recently retired from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as the assistant secretary of Agriculture and as director of the Agricultural and Natural Resources Division.

David Van Vorst, of Cape May County, was honored posthumously after passing away in April 2019. He was the co-founder and co-owner of Plantation Beach Plum Farm. He retired from the New Jersey State Division of Parks and Forestry with 38 years of service and for many years was the district fire warden for the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, according to the statement.

Dr. Mel Henninger, of Rutgers University, was recognized at the virtual convention in 2021 and received his award in-person this year. Before being a professor emeritus for the last 10 years at Rutgers, he spent almost 40 years of his career as an extension specialist in vegetable crops at Rutgers.

He was active on the national level, having been president and vice president of the Potato Association of America. He also is a former director of the New Jersey Agribusiness Association, has been a longtime member of the American Society of Agronomy, The American Society of Horticulture Science, and the New Jersey Agricultural Society, among others, according to the statement.

Organizations who qualify to send delegates to the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention may nominate a state farmer for the Distinguished Service Award. For more information, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/about/sba/guidelin.html.

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