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Al Murray, New Jersey's assistant secretary of agriculture, was named acting secretary of agriculture as of Jan. 1.

Charles M. Kuperus, who had served for seven years as the state's secretary of agriculture, had submitted his resignation Oct. 24 to New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine; that resignation became effective Dec. 31.

The state Board of Agriculture, an eight-member body created by statute, which serves as the policy-making entity for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, is responsible for appointing the secretary of agriculture, with the approval of the governor.

That board is "still in the interview process" to select a permanent successor to Mr. Kuperus, and hopes to name someone by mid-February, perhaps at the New Jersey state agriculture convention scheduled for Feb. 10-11 in Cherry Hill, NJ, Mr. Murray told The Produce News during the Eastern Produce Council's Jan. 6 dinner meeting.