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New Jersey's Top Young Farmer Honored at
U.S. Junior Chamber o Commerce National Convention
For Immediate Release: January 13, 2000 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


Ronald Binaghi, Jr., from Old Tappan, Bergen County, selected as this year's Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) by the State Board of Agriculture, represented New Jersey at the 44th Annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Award Congress last month in Indianapolis, Indiana. Binaghi, president of Stokes Farm, was raised on his family vegetable and greenhouse farm and is a fifth-generation grower. He maintains three separate locations in the open-air farm market system in Manhattan, known as the Greenmarket. Competing at the Greenmarket and satisfying customers' needs means that he must grow more than 60 varieties of bedding and potted plants and more than 60 varieties of vegetables, greens and herbs on his 17-acre tract, just 20 minutes from the Big Apple. As a result of his attention to customers' preferences, Stokes Farm is known for the culinary herbs to which a majority of the acreage is now devoted. One of Stokes Farm's specialty items is an herbal wreath which was featured on "Good Morning America" in 1997. Community service is also an important part of Binaghi's life. He is active in numerous organizations, including the Bergen County Soil Conservation District, Council on the Environment of New York City Advisory Board, his township Board of Health and the Town Council. His community pride is reflected in the offices he has held as a volunteer fireman, his service as an auxiliary township police officer and his volunteer position as coach for the local soccer and softball associations. Binaghi also plays an active role in his church serving as a youth leader and minister. The National OYF Awards Congress is sponsored annually by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce to honor the achievements of a diverse group of enterprising farmers from across the nation. The first New Jersey farmer to receive the national OYF Award was Edward Wuillermin from Hammonton, in 1955. Since that time, two more Garden State farmers, Abbott Lee ('85) and James Giamarese ('89), have gone on to win the National OYF Award. This year more than 250 people representing past state winners, dignitaries and Jaycees attended the ceremony to honor the 29 state OYF winners. Binaghi and his wife Jeanine were joined at the Congress by John and Martha Hubschmidt (1966) from Bridgeton, Cumberland County. Among the notable former state and national winners of the OYF award is John R. Block (IL, '69), former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. During the National OYF Congress, five leaders in America agriculture choose the top four OYF candidates. The four national winners for 2000 OYF are from Connecticut (dairy/grain), New York (dairy), North Carolina (grain/sweet potatoes/cotton/tobacco), and North Dakota (grain/sunflowers). For the first time in the 45-year history of the OYF program, the National OYF Award was bestowed on a woman who operates a 650 head dairy herd on 1,800 acres in New York. The Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) program recognizes farmers who are good stewards of the land, conserving natural resources through efficient and innovative practices. The program also encourages better urban-rural relations and a greater interest in the farmer through appreciation of the farmers' contributions and achievements. It is the oldest national farmer recognition program in the United States, selecting its first group of national winners in 1955. The National OYF program is administered by the US Junior Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by Deere & Company and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., and supported by the more than 1,600 past state and national OYF winners who are members of the Outstanding Farmers of America (OFA) Fraternity. The U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce provides personal and professional development through civic involvement to men and women ages 21-39. There are some 150,000 members in more than 3,000 chapters across the nation.

For more information on the OYF program or to arrange an interview with Binaghi, call Karen Kritz, New Jersey's OYF Program Manger, at (609) 984-2506.