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Al Murray serving New Jersey again

Al Murray is again serving New Jersey agricultural interests.

Both the New Jersey Farm Bureau and the New Jersey Agricultural Society have hired the state's former assistant secretary of agriculture to help their respective organizations, tapping into his experience and expertise during his decades of service with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.Al-Murray

The farm bureau hired Murray in early February as a consultant. He is representing that organization "at all legislative hearings that would be pertinent to agriculture," Murray told The Produce News Wednesday, May 3.

Those hearings, held in Trenton, "give the public an opportunity to speak out about proposed legislation" that affects agricultural interest in the Garden State, he noted.

More recently, the New Jersey Agricultural Society named Murray as its next executive director. "Al was unanimously voted in by the entire board of trustees" at its April 25 meeting, board President Rob Swanekamp told The Produce News.

Murray will succeed Kristina Guttadora, who served as executive director for the past six years and is returning to the teaching field.

Murray, 55, who currently serves as vice president of the agricultural society's board of trustees, will resign that position when he takes over as executive director, which is expected to happen in mid-August, said Swanekamp.

"In the interim, Al will be working with Kris to become acclimated to that [new] role," said Swanekamp.

The society has named David Specca of Specca Farms to replace Murray as vice president on the board.

Murray retired from the NJDA on Nov. 30, 2016, after serving there for 33 years.

His work at the farm bureau "has been exciting," he said, and he is looking forward to his new responsibilities at the agricultural society. "They keep me engaged in an industry that I've always loved," he said, and the new roles will allow him "to keep supporting the industry."

Regarding the agricultural society, Murray added, "Kris has been an outstanding executive director. I have very large farm boots to fill."