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2009 Winner Announced, Applications Sought for 2010 Honoree
For Immediate Release: November 12, 2008
Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus today announced that H. William Sytsema, a dairy and cattle farmer from Wantage, Sussex County has been named 2009 Outstanding Young Farmer by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture.

Sytsema, who is 37, was nominated by the Sussex County Agriculture Development Board and will be presented with his award at the 2009 New Jersey Agricultural Convention in Cherry Hill next February.  He also will compete for one of the top four National Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) Awards. 

“Mr. Sytsema is just one example of younger farmers showing leadership and working to help sustain and grow the agriculture industry in his community and New Jersey,” said Secretary Kuperus.  “Young farmers represent agriculture’s future and by recognizing them for their efforts, we hope to encourage them to continue to farm and contribute to the community and the industry.”

Sytsema, who purchased the family farm from his father in 2000, has added a retail farm market and agricultural education programs to his business.  He also is actively involved in various trade and community organizations.

New Jersey annually recognizes the outstanding achievements of a young farmer, who is an upstanding leader, respected agriculturalist and is active in community or faith organizations.  The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Year 2010 Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) Award.  The submission deadline for nominations is January 15, 2009. 

Nominees must be farm operators, deriving a minimum of two-thirds of their income from farming and must be between the ages of 21-40, not becoming 41 prior to January 1, 2010.  Candidates who have a financial interest in the farm operation (a sole proprietor, partners, or a corporation) will receive higher ranking in the OYF judging process. However, nominees also may include salaried farm managers and employees who are actively involved in policy and management decisions.  Submission of a financial statement is not required for state competition.

A panel of three judges will review each nominee’s application based on the following criteria: progress in their agricultural career (50 percent of the total score); soil and water conservation practices (25 percent of the total score); and contribution to his/her community, state and nation (25 percent of the total score).

Any individual or organization can nominate deserving young farmers’ names. Persons who have been nominated in the past or previous state winners who went to the National competition but did not receive a National OYF Award can be re-nominated. However, these candidates must still meet the eligibility criteria.

Since the United States Jaycees presented the first award, four New Jersey farmers’ names have been added to the National OYF Honor Roll. They include Abbott Lee (1985), James B. Giamarese (1989), Robert Von Thun, Jr. (2001) and Jeffrey VanderGroef (2005).

The OYF program is the oldest farmer recognition program in the United States, selecting its first group of national winners in 1955, and is administered by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce. The goals of the OYF program are to foster better urban-rural relations through the understanding of farmers’ challenges, as well as the appreciation of their contributions and achievements; to bring about a greater interest in farmers/ranchers; and to help build an urban awareness of the farmers’ importance and impact on America’s economy.  The OYF program encourages a greater interest in agriculture through the appreciation of the farmers’ contributions and achievements and recognizes local citizens’ contributions and encourages better urban-rural relations. The National OYF program is sponsored by Deere & Company, supported by the Outstanding Farmers of America (OFA) Fraternity and the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA), and administered by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce

The Official State Nomination Form can be accessed on the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s web site at  If you have any questions on the OYF program or the nomination procedure or need a nomination form, contact Karen Kritz, New Jersey OYF Program Manager at (609) 984-2506, by facsimile (609) 341-3212 or e-mail at