Blew, DeFrange Fill Positions at Reorganization Meeting
Cumberland County nursery owner/manager Robert Blew and Hunterdon County nursery owner David DeFrange II were sworn in to their terms on the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the monthly meeting of the Board in Trenton on Wednesday, June 28. The session also included the annual officer reorganization where Burlington County’s Paul Hlubik was elected President and Somerset County’s Debbie Norz was elected Vice President. (photo by NJDA)
TRENTON, N.J. — Cumberland County nursery owner/manager Robert Blew and Hunterdon County nursery owner David DeFrange II were sworn in to their terms on the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the monthly meeting of the Board in Trenton on Wednesday, June 28. The session also included the annual officer reorganization where Burlington County’s Paul Hlubik was elected President and Somerset County’s Debbie Norz was elected Vice President.
“Robert Blew’s farming expertise and experience provide an extraordinary benefit to the Board and to the entire agricultural community,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said. “Dave DeFrange’s service on the current board, along with his professional background, gives him a unique perspective with present issues and in advancing agriculture in the future.”
Blew has been an owner/manager of Centerton Nursery for 18 years. His primary responsibilities have been product development, marketing, and digital content among other duties. Centerton Nursery is a third-generation operation that delivers more than 1,600 plant varieties to more than 900 dealers in 32 states while serving the independent garden center industry. Blew, along with siblings Donald, and Amy, operate the family business that was started in 1974 by their grandparents, and continued with their father Denny.
Robert Blew is a Penn State University graduate with a degree in agricultural business management. He and each of his siblings have been involved in the nursery operation since they were young. Blew is a member of the Cumberland County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association and is a graduate of the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program.
DeFrange was re-elected to a second term on the board and has served as State Board President for the last two years. He has owned and operated Copper Creek in Frenchtown, NJ for 29 years that began as a landscape design, installation, and maintenance company. Soon after he purchased his farm in Frenchtown, DeFrange began experimenting in tree production on his site, commencing his journey as a nursery grower. Most recently, his production work has focused on utilizing more sustainable plants and innovative techniques for green infrastructure projects in urban environments.
In addition to his industry work, DeFrange is a strong supporter of agriculture education, and volunteers with the FFA to promote agriculture at the high school level. He also serves on the agriculture advisory board for Delaware Valley University and is an instructor of horticulture at Mercer County Community College. DeFrange graduated from Delaware Valley University with a bachelor’s degree majoring in Ornamental Horticulture and Environmental Design with a minor in Bioscience. He is also a graduate of the Agricultural Leadership Development Program Class 10. David is an active member of numerous professional organizations related to agriculture and the nursery and landscape industry. He currently is a board member for the New Jersey Agricultural Society and the Hunterdon County Board of Agriculture
Hlubik and Norz have each served on the board since 2019. Hlubik owns and manages Backacres Farms in Chesterfield, a hay and grain operation that encompasses 1,400 rented and owned acres. Norz and her husband Rich own and operate Norz Hill Farm and Market in Hillsborough.
The State Board of Agriculture comprises eight members who serve for four years. By law, at least four of its members must represent the top commodity groups in the state. For more information, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/about/sba.
–Jeff Wolfe, NJDA