Paul “Duce” Tallamy II, a beef and produce farmer from Wantage, Sussex County, was named one of the four 2012 National Outstanding Young Farmers on February 11 by the National Outstanding Young Farmer Congress in Springdale, Arkansas.
“New Jersey’s crop of motivated younger farmers continues to gain national attention for their talent and innovation, showing the Garden State is a national agricultural leader,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “Through hard work, an unwavering commitment to excellence and good business sense, Duce Tallamy deserves this national and state recognition. His achievements showcase New Jersey’s unique and diverse agriculture.”
John Melick from Oldwick, Richard A. Norz from Hillsborough and H. William Sytsema from Wantage, were 2011, 2010 and 2009 New Jersey Outstanding Young Farmers who went on to become national winners. Since 1999, every New Jersey Outstanding Young Farmer has been among the top 10 National Outstanding Young Farmers, as well.
Tallamy and his wife, Joy, competed against nine other finalists for the four top positions. The Tallamys, along with Brian and Renee Schaal of Wisconsin, Andrew and Karlie Bowman of Illinois, and Troy and Bobbie Jo Uglem of North Dakota were selected as national winners, representing the beef, produce, dairy, hay, soybean and agribusiness industries.
The honor of being named one of the four national OYF finalists is difficult to put into words — the emotions felt are from how could they pick us among our peers to being very proud of my family and the important role we have within the ag community,” said Duce Tallamy. “This program is great encouragement for young farmers in New Jersey and nationally, as an example of how each farm family can make a positive impact in their local communities and abroad
Tallamy is a first generation farmer who got involved in agriculture while working on a degree in applied science at SUNY Cobleskill. After graduating, he worked as a herdsman on an 1,800-head dairy farm. A few years later, he became partners with the owner of an old farm in his hometown of Wantage and together they renovated the buildings on the 250 acres of property, reclaimed the cropland and purchased some cattle. In 2006, he and his wife, Joy, purchased the farm, which is part of the Farmland Preservation Program, and began Green Valley Farms, a produce and natural beef cattle operation. Visit them on Facebook and say congrats!
The Tallamy’s operate four retail markets, all within 20 miles of the home farm, selling their own sweet corn, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables. At their farm in Wantage, they offer pick-your-own strawberries, cut flower and pumpkins and USDA-certified all natural beef. Joy Tallamy runs class trips and farm education tours and they host yearly strawberry, ice cream, sweet corn and harvest festivals.
Outstanding Young Farmer nominees must be farm operators, deriving a minimum of two-thirds of their income from farming and must be between the ages of 21-40, not becoming 41 prior to the National OYF Awards Congress. The OYF program is the oldest farmer recognition program in the United States, selecting its first group of national winners in 1955. The goals of the OYF program are to foster better urban-rural relations through the understanding of farmers’ challenges, as well as the appreciation of their contributions and achievements; to bring about a greater interest in farmers/ranchers; and to help build an urban awareness of the farmers’ importance and impact on America’s economy.
The National OYF program is sponsored by Deere & Company, supported by the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA) and the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce and is administered by the Outstanding Farmers of America (OFA) Fraternity.
For more information about the New Jersey Outstanding Young Farmer Program, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/about/sba/cover.html.