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For Immediate Release: November 15, 2012
Contact: Lynne Richmond (609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – Anna Matthews of Belvidere has been chosen as the 2013 New Jersey Agricultural Fair Ambassador.  The 19 year old was selected from among 11 contestants by the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey during the group’s fall dinner on November 4 in Eastampton. 

“Anna is a proven leader in the agriculture community, having served as the state’s Equestrian of the Year in 2011,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.  “She will be a wonderful spokesperson as she attends our state’s agricultural fairs next summer.  She also will serve as an inspiring mentor for young people interested in or already involved in agricultural youth organizations.”

As ambassador, Matthews is charged with visiting the state’s agricultural fairs in 2013, discussing the fairs, promoting agritourism to the public, and bringing people together to support the state’s agriculture industry. 

“Agriculture is everywhere, not just on the farm,” wrote Matthews in her contest essay, ‘What Agriculture Means to Me.’  “It is the common thread that ties us into a community of people that stretches across property, county, state and national lines.  Agriculture is an absolutely certain and inescapable part of what it means to be human.  It is food for the soul.”

Matthews grew up on a hay and livestock farm and bred Jersey Wooly and Holland Lop rabbits.  She owns two Arabian horses and participated in the Warren County Farmer’s Fair since 2000, showing horses, rabbits, cats, small animals and other projects.  She was the 2012 Fair Queen.

Matthews is a long-time 4-H member, serving as New Jersey 4-H Equestrian of the Year in 2010 and President of the Wild and Wooly 4-H Club from 2008-2011.  She was the assistant coach of the Horse Science Competition Teams, helping to design tests and educational activities and teaching at weekly meetings.  She also volunteered at the local 4-H office.

“I would not be where I am today without the opportunities that I gained from my involvement in agriculture.  Programs like 4-H that promote agriculture taught me the skills I needed to become a confident public speaker, a diplomatic and organized leader and a community-minded citizen.”

She currently is a sophomore at The King’s College in New York City, studying politics, philosophy and economics.  There, she is an active member of the Debate Society, an Associate Scholar of Academic House, serves as an economic tutor and participated in last summer’s International Ventures program to China.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey for the honor being the 2013 Ambassador and I’m very excited to see what this next year will bring,” she said.

This is the 10th year the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey has named an ambassador.  In choosing an ambassador, the Association seeks a good representation of young people active in agriculture in the Garden State and their county fair. 

Selected First Runner-up in the competition was Kristie L. VonThun or Monmouth Junction and Second Runner-up was Kristen Johnson of Skillman.

There were 18 agricultural fairs in the state this past summer, including the New Jersey State Fair at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.  The earliest fair is held July 4 weekend, with the final fair of the season in late August.

For more information on New Jersey’s agricultural fairs, visit