Maine Potato Board Names Young Farmer of the Year

The Maine Potato Board has named fifth-generation farmer Randy Leavitt 2008 Young Farmer of the Year. Leavitt and his family farm in Limestone and in Fort Fairfield, where they grow 1,250 acres of potatoes and 1,250 acres of small grain. Leavitt is the vice president of Central Aroostook Young Farmers, a group he’s belonged to for nearly a decade. He also sits on the Agricultural Bargaining Council. In 2003, Leavitt was among McCain Foods’ Top 10 Growers. Ninety percent of potatoes grown by Leavitt are used for processing.

There are about 380 potato growers in Maine. The total impact of the potato industry on the state’s economy is $540 million in sales, 6,100 jobs, over $230 million in personal income, and over $32 million in state and local taxes.

Left to right: New Jersey State Board of Agriculture President Noble McNaughton; New Jersey Farm Bureau Executive Director Peter Furey; New Jersey Farm Bureau President Richard Nieuwenhuis; and Acting New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Alfred W. Murray.

New Jersey Farm Bureau Honored

The New Jersey Farm Bureau was honored by the State Board of Agriculture with this year’s sole Distinguished Service Citation. The award was presented to Farm Bureau President Richard Nieuwenhuis and Executive Director Peter J. Furey at the New Jersey Agricultural Convention held in Cherry Hill.

New Jersey Farm Bureau is a 14,000-member agricultural trade association that was started in 1919. The organization focuses on all issues affecting land use and agriculture, from property rights to land use planning.

Distinguished Service Citations are awarded by the State Board of Agriculture to farmers, agricultural leaders and allies of the industry who have made outstanding contributions to agriculture and to enhancing the quality of rural life in New Jersey.