Seven farmers and others actively involved in New Jersey agriculture received awards in agriculture from the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the New Jersey Agricultural Convention.

Honored at the United Agricultural Convention banquet were Dave Bond, Sam Conard, Alan Danser, Dan Farand, Monique Purcell, David Van Worst, each for 2022; along with 2021 winner Dr. Mel Henninger.

“Each of these people is highly regarded for their experience, expertise and contributions that have benefited agriculture in Garden State,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said in a prepared statement. “Their devotion to agriculture in New Jersey is legendary.”

Dave Bond of Hunterdan Countyis a fourth-generation farmer who has owned and operated the Bond family farm since 1965.

Sam Conard of Somerset County, retired in 2016 and was the owner and operator of SR Conard and Sons, a 1,250-acre agricultural operation based in Hillsboro. It is a sixth generation family farm that has hay, straw and grain. The operation has been around for over 100 years.

Conard is currently a member of the Somerset County Council of Agriculture, where he has served since 1998 and was vice president; has been a member of the New Jersey Farm Bureau since 1975; and has been on the Belle Mead Farmers Board of Directors since 2002, where he is secretary, the statement said.

Alan Dancer since 1987 has focused most of its activities on corn and soybeans after growing potatoes and grains until then. President of Danser & Bloom Farm in Cranberry, he retired from agriculture in 2020.

Danser has provided leadership to the agricultural community throughout his career. This included work on the Middlesex County Agricultural Development Council (MCADB).

It was available for collaboration with agricultural organizations and associations, including the Rutgers University Cooperative Expansion Service. According to the statement, he provided leadership throughout the county through his service to the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture.

Dan Farand of Maurice County, is the owner and operator of Harbe Dan Farms, which produces soybeans, corn, hay and oats on 700 permanently preserved hectares.

Monique Purcell recently retired from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and Director of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

David Van Worst of Cape May County, was awarded posthumously after his death in April 2019. He was a co-founder and co-owner of Plantation Beach Plum Farm. According to the statement, he retired from the New Jersey Parks and Forestry Department with 38 years of experience and for many years was the county fire chief of the New Jersey State Forest Fire Department.

Dr. Mel Henninger of Rutgers University, was recognized at the Virtual Congress in 2021 and received the award in person this year. Before becoming an Honored Professor for the past 10 years at Rutgers, he spent nearly 40 years of his career as a specialist in vegetable expansion at Rutgers.

He has been active nationally as President and Vice President of the Potato Association of America. He is also a former director of the New Jersey Agribusiness Association, a longtime member of the American Agronomic Society, the American Horticultural Science Society and the New Jersey Agricultural Society, among others, the statement said.

Organizations eligible to send delegates to the New Jersey Agricultural Convention may nominate a state farmer for the Outstanding Merit Award. For more information, visit

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