Apr 1, 2024
Ed Wengryn leads NJ Department of Agriculture

Edward D. Wengryn recently became New Jersey secretary of agriculture.

Wengryn, who started in the role on March 25, succeeds Douglas Fisher, who retired. Joe Atchison III, the assistant secretary, had been interim agriculture secretary since July 2023.

Ed Wengryn
Ed Wengryn

“As the Garden State, agriculture is one of the most important facets of our state’s identity and heritage,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a news release. “Ed comes from a farming family and is a passionate advocate for our agricultural community. I am confident that his experience and leadership will benefit the many residents who depend on the department’s programs and services, including for access to healthy, locally grown food.

“Ed will help to ensure that the agricultural community remains top of mind as we continue to expand economic opportunities for businesses across our state,” said Murphy, who also thanked Atchison for his leadership, in the release.

“I want to thank the State Board of Agriculture for the nomination and the opportunity to serve the agriculture industry in New Jersey as Secretary. I also want to thank Governor Murphy for his support and approval of my nomination. “As the grandson of Ukrainian immigrants who settled here in New Jersey as farmers, I am humbled and honored to be able to lead an agency that has been critical to the success of not only my family, but all the farming families in New Jersey,” Wengryn said in the release. “I look forward to ensuring the Department succeeds in its multifaceted missions and to serving the citizens of our great Garden State.”

“Both the obstacles farmers face and the opportunities they can find are often rooted in legislation and regulation,” Holly Sytsema, president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture, said in the release. “With Ed’s background of decades influencing agricultural policy on a state and federal level, he is in a unique position to know the history of, and the most current thinking on, agricultural legislative and administrative issues.”

Wengrym with NJ state ag board
New Jersey State Agriculture Secretary Ed Wengryn (front row), with members of the NJ State Board Of Agriculture. Photos courtesy NJ Department of Agriculture.

Wengryn has been with the New Jersey Farm Bureau since 1998, as a field representative and research associate. His field work included the direct marketing of farm products and oversight on issues such as sales taxes. His work spanned ornamental horticulture, land use, forestry and equine and other livestock issues.

From 2002-04, he was confidential assistant to New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles Kuperus, coordinating the development of industry-specific action plans to improve the economic viability of New Jersey’s varied agriculture sectors. Since 2009, Wengryn has represented the private agriculture sector on the New Jersey Industry Advisory Council at the State Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, ensuring concerns of the agricultural community are considered in state emergency response plans. This work was critical for keeping agricultural businesses open and running during the COVID-19 emergency.

He received the New Jersey Horse Person of the Year award in 2021 and currently serves as co-chair of the Rutgers University Board for Equine Advancement.

Wengryn grew up in the Neshanic Station section of Branchburg Township, helping on the Wengryn Family farm, a dairy and field crop operation in Hillsborough, New Jersey. As a youth, he worked with his father, Myron, growing and selling pumpkins and pick-your-own strawberries, as well as growing and selling tomatoes to area delis in the summer.

He is a 1986 graduate of Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture Doylestown with a Bachelor of Science degree in ornamental horticulture.


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