News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner Deputy Director
Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul M. Drake, Commissioner
Media Contact: Call Nathan Rudy at (908) 635-8401
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2023
Somerset County to Celebrate Agricultural Day, March 24 with Art, Stories, and Giveaways
Farm-to-Frame Exhibit Will Celebrate Preserved Farms through Artists’ Eyes
The Farm-to-Frame exhibit includes “The Baron Farm Moonrise,” a watercolor by artist Judy Hummer.
SOMERVILLE, NJ – In recognition of National Agriculture Day, on March 24, Somerset County will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the county’s farmland preservation program with a series of programs, including an art exhibit, giveaways at local libraries, and an interactive online “story map” with a timeline about the agricultural history of Somerset County.
One highlight will be the announcement of the winning “Farm to Frame” paintings and photographs that celebrate the preserved farms of Somerset County, at a public reception at 6 p.m. on March 24th in the lobby of the Somerset County Administration building at 20 Grove Street in Somerville. Over 30 local artists have produced stunning depictions of Somerset County farms which are on display now from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, through May 1, 2023. This exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission and the Somerset County Agriculture Development Board.
The Somerset County Agriculture Development Board (SCADB) celebrates “Ag Day” to inform the public about the valuable contributions that agriculture associations, agencies, government entities and local farmers have been providing to the county’s communities.
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of the county’s farmland preservation program. We are proud the county has preserved close to 9,000 acres of farmland, and we are in the process of preserving an additional 1,900 acres,” said Somerset County Commissioner Paul M. Drake, the SCADB liaison. “Preserving farmland is essential to the county’s communities, culture, history and the environment.”
The Somerset County Board of County Commissioners issued a proclamation at its meeting on March 14 in celebration of National Agriculture Day and the 40th anniversary of farmland preservation in Somerset County. Mark Kirby, Chairman of the Somerset County Agriculture Board, accepted the proclamation.
“I would like to thank the Somerset County Board of Commissioners. Without their support forty years ago to start this, we wouldn’t be anywhere near the little over 9,000 acres that we are going to have [preserved] by the end of this year,” said Kirby. “I’d also like to thank the office staff in the Office of Planning, Policy and Economic Development. Without them, we would not have an Agriculture Development Board that’s rated number one in the state!”
Online Story Map Tells the History of Farming
This year’s online story map tells the story of Somerset County’s agriculture highlights throughout 40 years, including the preservation of 126 farms, news stories from farming families, the history of local farming communities, and information about the legislature that supported the preservation program. To view the story map, click here.
“Farm to Frame” Art Exhibit, March 24 at 6 p.m.
Somerset County’s Cultural and Heritage Commission is hosting the “Farm to Frame” event, an eye-catching art exhibit featuring Somerset County preserved farms created by more than 30 New Jersey artists. The event commemorates 40 years of farmland preservation and is also the 40th anniversary of the Cultural & Heritage Commission.
Ag Day Giveaways at Somerset County Libraries
In honor of Ag Day, residents can visit the Somerset County Library System’s branches later this month to get free Ag Day trading cards, and “Agriculture Through the Years” coloring books.
Somerset County Agriculture Development Board
Since the SCADB’s inception in 1983, the board has successfully preserved over 8,500 acres of farmland in Somerset County, with the assistance of municipalities, the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners, and the State Agriculture Development Committee.
In addition, the SCADB also works with farmers and residents to mediate Right-to-Farm matters throughout the County. The Board also assists farmers in implementing Best Management Practices for their operations, and has been hosting many seminars and workshops on pressing agricultural issues, pending legislation, and new practices and technology.
“Looking Up” by Chrissy Lind is inspired by Dogwood Farms in Basking Ridge.
“Lavender Farm” by Janet Cunniffe-Chieffo is based on Hidden Spring Lavender Farm in Skillman.
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