By: Richard L. Smith
At the recent New Jersey State Agricultural Convention, three prominent figures in agriculture were awarded Distinguished Service to Agriculture Citations by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture.The recipients, recognized for their significant contributions to the state's agriculture sector, included two farmers, Mr. James Abma Sr. and Mr. Jim Giamarese, as well as an esteemed agricultural education advocate, Mr. Frank Yesalavich.
Assistant Secretary of the NJDA, Joe Atchison III, praised the trio for their innovative approaches, dedication, and foresight in enhancing the success of their respective operations and the broader agricultural industry.
Their efforts have not only contributed to the sustainability of agriculture in New Jersey but have also set a precedent for future generations.
James Abma Sr., from Bergen County, has been a vital figure in agriculture since his youth, leading to the success of Abma's Farm. His work spans vegetable production, composting, and the introduction of community-engaging activities like hayrides and pumpkin picking. Abma has been a fixture in the Bergen County Board of Agriculture for four decades, contributing significantly to various agricultural boards and associations.
Jim Giamarese and his wife Sue, farming about 100 acres in Middlesex County, have transformed their family's land into a thriving "pick your own" farm with a strong community presence. Their willingness to adopt new farming techniques and engage in educational outreach has made a lasting impact on local agriculture and community awareness.
Frank Yesalavich has dedicated his career to agricultural education, demonstrating leadership in both the National Association of Agricultural Educators and the New Jersey Association of Agricultural Educators. His commitment to advancing agricultural education and his active involvement in FFA and related activities have significantly contributed to fostering the next generation of agricultural professionals.These awards highlight the achievements of individuals who have not only excelled in their fields but have also played a crucial role in promoting and sustaining agriculture in New Jersey, ensuring its growth and relevance for years to come.