The New Jersey Agricultural Society holds a gala, Formisano and Murray receive the gold medal
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, members of New Jersey’s agriculture industry recently came together to celebrate and honor some of their own.
The New Jersey Agricultural Society held its annual gala on Saturday, March 19 at the Boathouse at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ, where the 2020 and 2022 awards were presented. (The 2020 gala was canceled the day before it was held, and no prizes were awarded in 2021.)
John Formisano Sr. and Al Murray each received the Gold Medal, the society’s highest honor. Bullock Farms in Cream Ridge, Vannini Farms in Vineland, Norz Hill Farm in Hillsborough Township and Little Farm in Sussex have all received Century Farm Awards. The Century Farm Awards are given to a farm owned by the same family and in operation for at least 100 years.
The Gold Medallion is awarded to an individual who has dedicated their life to New Jersey agriculture, making a significant contribution to the industry.
Formisano, a farmer from Buena, NJ, has served the industry in various capacities, including the New Jersey Vegetable Growers Association, where he has long been a driving force behind the annual Vegetable Growers Convention and Show. from New Jersey. Additionally, he has served on the Rutgers Research & Development Center Advisory Board, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Board of Directors, and he remains active in his community. He also serves on the Atlantic County Board of Agriculture and is a member of the Landisville Produce Cooperative Auction and the Vineland Produce Auction.
Formisano Farms consists of Formisano, his brother Ralph, and his son, John Jr. They farm over 400 acres of flowers, lettuce, cilantro, basil, dill, parsley, beets, collard greens, red cabbage, spinach, arugula, green Swiss chard, red Swiss chard, dandelion greens, broccoli rabe and fennel.
A longtime industry veteran, Al Murray enjoyed a 33-year career with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. During his tenure, he served under three Agriculture Secretaries while rising through the ranks to become Director of the Markets Division as well as Assistant Agriculture Secretary. During his career, he oversaw Jersey Fresh’s advertising and promotions program, as well as product grading, regulatory, agricultural chemistry, dairy, agricultural licensing and bonding, news market and food security.
After retiring from the NJDA, Murray served as executive director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society from 2017 until January 31 of this year. Since 2016, he has also been a policy consultant for the New Jersey Farm Bureau, where he remains today.
Murray is a permanent resident of the Borough of Audubon and was a former mayor as well as county landowner. He is a life member and past president of the Camden County Mayors Association, and a life member and past president of the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials Association. He has been a member of the Audubon Fire Department for 43 years. Murray currently sits on the board of the Eastern Produce Council.