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Anthony Cerbo III - Click to enlarge
Anthony Cerbo III
Anthony Cerbo III, is a third-generation nurseryman from Newton, Sussex County. Cerbo's farming heritage began when his grandfather entered the industry as a dairyman almost 90 years ago. His father decided to continue the family farm tradition but chose to diversify into nursery production and establish Cerbo's Parsipanny Greenhouse in Morris County.

After graduating from Delaware Valley College with a bachelor of science degree in ornamental horticulture and a minor in business, Cerbo began his career at the Parsipanny Greenhouse. For the next three years he experienced the many facets of nursery operation and in 1987 expanded the production sector of the business by purchasing a 40-acre field nursery in Sussex County.

With an opportunity to improve on the production techniques used by his father, Cerbo tried his hand at growing multi-year crops, such as field-grown trees, using a 'pot-in-pot' system. This unique growing technique increases output without incurring additional labor, allows year-round sales and has a proven track record of increasing sales. The small retail nursery that once served a five-to-seven mile radius has become a diversified wholesale marketing concern with a customer base of municipalities and other garden centers throughout the region as well as landscape professionals in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Cerbo is dedicated to improving the environment through the development and implementation of enhanced horticultural practices. Drip irrigation has achieved a 50 percent reduction in water use while computerized short-interval irrigation increases absorption and reduces run-off by 25 percent. Cerbo aggressively promotes after-market techniques for his clients such as hydro-seeding and terra-seeding and use of beneficial plants.

Commitment to his community is of paramount importance to Cerbo. Through education and fundraising, he has been able to develop a one-acre landscape competition at the Sussex County Farm & Horse Show, the only outdoor landscape competition in the entire nation.

He also founded "Springfest," Sussex County's Flower Show, which has become New Jersey's largest and received the International Fair and Exposition Award for Best Off-Season Event. Cerbo also developed a matching-grant, campus tree-planting program in Morris and Sussex County area schools and installed a Japanese garden that served as a cultural exchange project at a local school.

Cerbo serves on the Board of Advisors for the County College of Morris, Morris County Vo-Tech and Sussex County Technical School and on the Board of Directors of the Sussex County Farm & Horse Show and the New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association. In addition, he is a Certified Nursery Landscape Professional.

Cerbo's wife Sandy takes an active role in the farm operation. She has a bachelor of science degree in ornamental horticulture/floriculture and her production, management and marketing expertise have improved the farm's plant quality and yields and increased consumer demand. They hope that their three children -Anthony IV, 12; Tyler, 9; and Jeremy, 3 - will become the fourth generation of Cerbo farmers.

In appreciation of his dedication to the nursery industry and his personal and professional commitment to agriculture in the Garden State, the State Board of Agriculture recognizes Anthony Cerbo III with its Outstanding Young Farmer Award.