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New Jersey ag leaders honored for longtime serviceNew Jersey ag leaders honored for longtime service

The four honorees all received Distinguished Service to Agriculture Citations.

February 19, 2019

4 Min Read
John Dreyer, Nancy Trivette, Ray Samulis and Joy Ricker, accepting for Douglas Ricker, honored for service to agriculture
GARDEN STATE HONORS: Four people were recently honored for their service to agriculture at the New Jersey Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City. Pictured are John Dreyer (left), Nancy Trivette, Ray Samulis and Joy Ricker, accepting for the late Douglas Ricker. Photo courtesy of New Jersey Department of Agriculture

Longtime Union County farmer John Dreyer, late dairy farmer Douglas Ricker, retired Rutgers Extension agent Ray Samulis, and retired state ag education and FFA leader Nancy Trivette were all honored Feb. 6 with Distinguished Service to Agriculture Citations.

The awards were given by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City.

John Dreyer
Dreyer began working at his family’s farm stand as a child in 1954. The stand was first opened by his mother, Henrietta, in 1946. His father, Henry, and brother Henry Jr. also played significant roles in the farm market’s development.

In recent years, Dreyer has been at the forefront of market trends by encouraging community-supported agriculture, farm-to-table and agritourism. The Dreyers hold many events on the farm that are always well-attended.

During the growing season, 40 varieties of tomatoes are sold while 150 types of seedlings go from Dreyer Farms’ 12 greenhouses to customers who prefer to grow their own. Many varieties are heirlooms, all of which are hand-picked from 15 seed catalogs that Dreyer reviews each year with his daughter, Jessica, before selecting varieties for the following season.

Douglas Ricker
Ricker, who died in September, was a lifelong resident of Sussex County and had a major influence on New Jersey agriculture. He was a self-employed dairy farmer for his entire career and served on the state board of agriculture from 1990 to 1994. Doug and his brother Walt were each born on the family farm, which was purchased by their parents, Herman and Dorothy Ricker, in 1929.

In 1955, Herman Ricker and Sons was created, and then in 1970 another barn with a milking parlor was built, and the Ricker Brothers was formed.

The Rickers also hosted a dairy open house at their farm for several years.

Ricker and his wife, Joy, to whom he was married for 58 years, were active in Sussex County 4-H for decades. They competed in the open Holstein show for more than 50 years. Ricker was also an avid sports fan and played on the famed Sussex Cardinals baseball team from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Ray Samulis
Samulis was a longtime Rutgers Extension agent in Burlington County who became known for his expertise in sweet corn. He established one of the most comprehensive sweet corn programs that involved field research, comprehensive training seminars and marketing research. He was also an advocate for farm safety, leading seminars on farm safety for 15 years. The Cranberry Growers Association gave him an award for being a safety mentor for its industry.

Samulis also established field trials for Padron peppers and was heavily involved in helping cranberry, pumpkin and other vegetable growers with various field trials, playing a key role in making New Jersey a leading producer in several crops.

Samulis was raised in Barrington, near Cherry Hill and Voorhees, but did not grow up on a farm or in an agricultural setting. That didn’t stop him from having an early interest in agriculture, and by ninth grade he knew he wanted a career in agriculture. He worked on three different farms and as a landscaper, and he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Delaware Valley University and a master’s degree from Cornell University.

Nancy Trivette
Trivette has been a champion for ag education for more than 30 years. She recently retired as the state FFA advisor, and the food, agriculture and natural resources education leader from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

Trivette has inspired thousands of FFA members to engage in personal, career and leadership development activities while encouraging them to excel as they developed their own agricultural skills. She has also been a leader in assisting schools to develop CASE, the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education.

She has been the state FFA advisor since 1983, first with Rutgers, then at the New Jersey Department of Education, and since 1995 with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

Trivette is still a member of the National Teach Ag Advisory Board and as the New Jersey State Teach Ag Results state contact.

She is currently president-elect of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), and she has been the president of the National Council for Agricultural Education, president of the National Association of Supervisors Agricultural Education, the ACTE Region I vice president and is currently the National FFA treasurer.

She was one of four National Teach Ag Award winners in the U.S., named by the National Association for Agricultural Educators.

Source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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