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For Immediate Release: August 31, 2010
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – Karen Kritz, a Pemberton resident who works in the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Economic Development Program, was recently reappointed by United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack to serve a second term on his Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.

“For New Jersey agriculture to remain strong, we must encourage new people to get involved,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.  “While on this national committee, Karen has an opportunity to provide input as to the issues faced by beginning farmers in the Garden State.”

The Committee advises Secretary Vilsack on ways to develop programs to provide coordinated assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers while maximizing new farming and ranching opportunities.  It also works to enhance and expand federal-state partnerships to provide financing for beginning farmers and ranchers.

Kritz was first appointed to the Committee in 2008.  Since then, the panel has developed 19 recommendations for the Secretary.  Kritz said she’s very honored she was chosen to serve a second term.

“One of my many duties at the Department is to assist beginning farmers and ranchers in building profitable and sustainable operations by leveraging and improving the resources available to them through a variety of state and federal programs and Land-Grant universities,” said Kritz.  “By serving on the Secretary’s Advisory Committee, I can act as a conduit to raise issues during Committee meetings that have been broached by New Jersey’s new and aspiring farmers and those organizations who work directly with beginning farmers.”

Kritz, a graduate of Cook College, Rutgers University with a degree in Agricultural and Business Economics, started her career with the Department in 1984.  She assists farmers and agribusinesses on a variety of topics, including agricultural motor vehicle regulations, agricultural construction, agricultural recycling, farm management practices, and agricultural finance and credit counseling. 

Kritz serves as the NJDA’s liaison to the New Jersey food processing industry, represents the NJDA’s Secretary of Agriculture on the Solid Waste Advisory Council, the Food and Agriculture Council and the State Emergency Board, and serves as the State Program Manager for the Outstanding Young Farmer Program. She serves as a co-director for the Garden State Crop Insurance Education Initiative, an educational program funded by the Risk Management Agency to inform New Jersey agricultural producers about crop insurance, with an emphasis toward beginning farmers and ranchers.

In addition, this year, Kritz was one of 40 individuals selected by the USDA to serve on the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Peer Review Panel.  The Farm Bill made available almost $19 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to fund the program to support the nation’s beginning farmers and ranchers.  The program’s purpose is to develop and offer education, outreach, mentoring and internship programs.

For more information on assistance for beginning farmers in New Jersey, call (609) 984-2506.