The South Jersey Coalition of Boards of Agriculture held a joint Legislators’ Appreciation Dinner on March 13, 2019 at the Greenview Inn in Cumberland County, New Jersey. This was the first such dinner hosted by the Coalition which consists of the Boards of Agriculture from Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties in New Jersey.
More than 150 people attended the meeting including state and county elected officials, members of Boards of Agriculture, representatives from state agencies and councils, and members of the agricultural community.
Dave Van Vorst, President of the Cape May County Board of Agriculture and a member of the planning committee, said, “The idea was for the southern boards of agriculture to work together and expand upon the dinner previously hosted by the Atlantic County Board of Agriculture annually that traditionally attracted some fifty to sixty people.”
Van Vorst added, “The result was the formation of the coalition, an attendance greater than anticipated and the overwhelming desire of all involved to present a united voice for farmers of the region.”
Attendees enjoyed table discussion on issues concerning agriculture during dinner. Afterwards August Wuillermin, of Wuillermin Farms, Atlantic County, and a member of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture, talked to the group about the impact higher minimum wages would have on farmers. The agriculture industry is burdened with a wage structure it cannot sustain. To remain viable it is important to keep costs low as possible. Production and harvesting of crops is very labor intense. Consideration needs to be given to different industries when issues such as the minimum wage are decided.
For more information about the South Jersey Coalition of County Boards of Agriculture, call Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County at (609) 465-5115, ext. 3607.