New Jersey Agricultural Society names new executive director
the New Jersey Agricultural Society announced the appointment of a new executive director, Brooke McMinn. Al Murray, who had held the position since 2017, is stepping down.
“I have enjoyed my tenure with the New Jersey Agricultural Society and have considered it a privilege to serve as executive director,” said Murray, a resident of Audubon, NJ. “However, I have reached a point in my life where I would like to pursue new projects.” Murray is also a policy consultant with the New Jersey Farm Bureau and has indicated he intends to remain in that role.
But Murray is probably best known for his 33-year career with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, where he held several positions, including assistant secretary of agriculture when he left the department in late 2016.
“Al came to us at a critical time and helped manage the company as we expanded our Farmers Against Hunger program to meet unprecedented demand due to the COVID pandemic. Al was also instrumental in the graduating class ten from our leadership program and keeping class eleven operational during these challenging times,” said company president Richard Norz of Norz Hill Farm in Hillsborough, NJ. “Al has a incredible network within the industry, and these contacts have been very beneficial to our operations. Although Al will not be our Executive Director, we plan to continue to rely on his insight and expertise.”
Murray first approached the company’s board of directors in September to brief them on his plans. He offered to stay until the company appoints a new executive director. The board undertook a search process to select Murray’s replacement.
“I am pleased to announce that Mrs. Brooke McMinn has accepted our offer to be the new Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society, effective February 1,” Norz said. “Brooke has extensive farming experience and is familiar with New Jersey’s agricultural industry. We expect the transition to be smooth.”
McMinn, a graduate of Rutgers University, most recently served as Director of Education and Visitor Experience at Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to that, she worked for the Burlington County (NJ) Resource Conservation Center, where she provided general horticultural and agricultural advice to gardeners and growers. McMinn was also a research assistant in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University.
“As a former New Jersey resident and extension worker, I am familiar with the New Jersey Agricultural Society, the organization’s long history and outstanding reputation,” McMinn said. “I welcome the opportunity to build on the company’s existing successes and work to achieve the organization’s goals of creating understanding and educating the public about the importance of agriculture. .”
Founded in 1781, the New Jersey Agricultural Society is one of the oldest organizations in the nation, whose purpose is to educate and promote New Jersey’s agricultural industry to the public. The company is a non-profit organization and sponsors three programs: Farmers Against Hunger, Learning Through Gardening, and the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program.