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For Immediate Release: July 31, 1998 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

The State Board of Agriculture this week chose Peter V. Demarest of Hillside, Bergen County, as vice president and William N. Brooks, Jr. of Elmer, Salem County, as president.

Demarest is president of Demarest Farm, Inc., a family business established in 1886. His wife, Marsha, and his son, P.J., are active participants in the business. The farm, situated in Hillside and Saddle River, is a 32-acre diversified agricultural operation specializing in vegetables and fruits. In addition, Demarest operates a greenhouse and grows Christmas trees. The farm includes a 10,000-square-foot retail complex and is the only farm in Bergen County that offers pick-your-own apples, peaches and pumpkins. Demarest is a member of the Bergen County Board of Agriculture, having served several years as president, and represents Bergen County as a director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. He was a member of the Board of Managers at Rutgers University, Cook College; served as director of Farmers Brokerage, Inc.; is a member of the New Jersey Vegetable Growers Association, the New Jersey Peach Council, the National Peach Council, the New Jersey Horticultural Society, the New Jersey Agricultural Society, the International Dwarf Fruit Tree Association and the New Jersey Agri-Business Association. William N. Brooks, Jr., the new president of the State Board, is the owner of Dusty Lane Farms in Elmer where he and his wife, Diane, grow 520 acres of potatoes, sweet corn, peas, spinach and grain. He began farming full-time in 1966 on a 156-acre farm owned by his grandfather. In addition to the 400 acres Brooks now owns, he leases an additional 120 acres. Brooks is a member of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, New Jersey Agricultural Society and Salem County Board of Agriculture and has served as New Jersey's representative on the American Farm Bureau Horticulture Advisory Board. Brooks currently serves as vice chairman of the New Jersey Potato Association. He has served as director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, the New Jersey Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey and is a past director of Garden State Farm Credit. A former member of the Salem County Agricultural Development Board, Brooks has also served as chairman of the Salem Soil Conservation District and president of the Salem County Board of Agriculture. Brooks has served as a member of the Upper Pittsgrove Township Committee for nine years and for two years served as mayor of the township. In addition, he has served on the Township Planning Board. Brooks is active in the Pole Tavern Ruritan Club. He and his wife have three children, Emily, Sarah and Michael. Other members of the Board are Bix DiMeo of Colts Neck, Roger Ruske of Millville, Abbott Lee of Chatsworth, Steven Jany of Hightstown, Douglas Zee of Glassboro and Thomas Brodhecker of Newton.

The eight-member State Board of Agriculture is the highest official policy-making body in the state. Only those who are involved in producing farm crops or livestock products are eligible and membership must represent each of the four leading agricultural commodities.