Home > News > Press Releases
For Immediate Release: Septtember 12, 2001 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


Samuel Garrison, New Jersey's Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, has announced his retirement effective November 1, 2001, after 42 years of service to the citizens of the state. "Sam has been a valued and knowledgeable advocate for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and for the state's ag industry," said Agriculture Secretary Art Brown, Jr., who will leave NJDA in December. "It will be difficult to replace his expertise and vast experience in many critical areas related to agricultural policy and department programs in support of our agriculture industry." Garrison joined NJDA in 1959 as an agricultural economist and was named Assistant Secretary of Agriculture in 1985 after serving for 12 years as the agency's director of the Division of Administration. During a career that spanned five decades, Garrison played a key role in the development of a number of critical agricultural policies that have helped the Garden State retain a thriving agricultural sector, despite dense urbanization around the state. Garrison served as part of the team that helped to develop the original Farmland Assessment Act, a piece of legislation that Brown has said was the single most important law passed in support of production agriculture in New Jersey, and worked on a variety of other agricultural tax issues as well. He was also instrumental in the development of New Jersey's Right to Farm program and of 1994 amendments to the Right to Farm Act which served to extend the protections of the law to a larger segment of the state's production agriculture industry. In addition, he was involved in many farm labor, natural resource and rural development programs during his tenure with NJDA. Garrison served as a member of the Blueprint Commission on the Future of New Jersey Agriculture and on the FARMS Commission. The latter developed the strategic planning agenda which has guided NJDA and the state's agriculture industry since the early 1990s. Garrison was one of the architects of the Agriculture Economic Recovery and Development Program that sprang from the report of the FARMS Commission, creating numerous economic development programs to enhance the economic viability of producers and other agribusinesses. Garrison has also been an active member of numerous land use, rural planning and zoning groups including development of the State Plan and creation of the Farmland Preservation Program under the State Agriculture Development Committee. In addition, he served as NJDA's designee to the Pinelands Development Credit Bank Board and the Transfer of Development Rights Bank Board and represented Brown on many interdepartmental committees and task forces. An area of particular interest was the stewardship of New Jersey's soil and water resources leading Garrison to play an important role in NJDA's soil and water conservation cost-sharing grant programs, drought relief activities and non-point source pollution control efforts. A strong advocate for agricultural education and rural youth development programs, Garrison has received both the Honorary State FFA degree and the American FFA degree from the national FFA organization. He was also honored by the Burlington County Board of Agriculture with its Distinguished Service Award. Garrison currently serves as president of the Princeton Agricultural Society and as a member of the Board of the New Jersey Agricultural Museum. He is also an active member of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, the New Jersey Agricultural Society, the New Jersey Forestry Association and the Cook College and Rutgers University Alumni Associations. A retirement dinner will be held in his honor at Forsgate Country Club in Jamesburg on October 22.