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NJDA and vegetable growers plan convention/trade show to showcase Garden State agriculture

TRENTON, NJ — The New Jersey Agricultural Convention & Trade Show will take place Feb. 4-6, 2014, at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey, New Jersey Blueberry Association, Garden State Winegrowers Association and Rutgers University's New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station are coordinating the annual gathering that includes educational and informational opportunities and an impressive trade show.

"The 2014 convention will appeal to New Jersey's diverse agricultural industry by promoting participation and interaction among a wide cross-section of industry members from all sectors," New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said in a press release issued at the end of December. "During the course of the convention, delegates will learn more about the major issues impacting agriculture and make decisions that will move the industry forward."

Held since 1914, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture conducts a legally mandated annual convention of the state's entire agricultural industry. As specified under New Jersey statutes, each year delegates representing all sectors of the industry must gather to elect two members to New Jersey’s State Board of Agriculture, elect farmer-members to the Fish & Game Council, and set agricultural policy for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture through a series of formal resolutions voted on by the delegates.

The State Agriculture Convention will open Wednesday, Feb. 5, with its regular business session. The meeting will include listening sessions addressing crisis communication, the definition of "locally grown" and microenterprises. A GMO panel discussion also is planned. A number of resolutions will be considered by the delegates, including the issue of food safety. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has proposed rules required under the Food Safety Modernization Act that would affect New Jersey farmers.

Founded in 1955, the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey's mission is to disseminate knowledge of the growing and marketing of vegetables through cooperation with the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension, the New Jersey and U.S. departments of Agriculture, and all other existing organizations and committees working for or interested in the vegetable industry of the Garden State.

The vegetable growers’ portion of the convention-trade show begins Tuesday, Feb. 4. The trade show will feature exhibits and displays from many of the industry's suppliers and business associates. In addition, a wide variety of educational sessions will be held on topics such as growing crops, food safety, the latest ideas in agricultural practices, farm labor management and farm safety.

"I am excited about this year's combined convention with the Department of Agriculture and other partners," VGANJ President Joseph Marino said in the press release. "The convention looks to be better than ever with the addition of new vendors for our show as well as great educational topics."