New Jersey’s 2016 Outstanding Young Farmer, Jessica Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm in Hopewell Township was selected as a national winner at the 60th Annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress held February 11-14 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Niederer was one of four national winners selected from a group of 10 finalists for the award based on their progress in an agricultural career, extent of soil and water conservation practices and contributions to the well-being of the community, state and nation. The three other national winners were from Connecticut, North Dakota and Washington. The winners received a savings bond from corporate sponsor John Deere and the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. during National Ag Week in 2017.
“We are very proud of Jess for having received this great honor,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “She is a successful, hard-working, creative farmer who always is willing to help others interested in learning about farming.”
“It is a great honor to be recognized by such a distinguished association of farmers,” said Niederer. “It is especially encouraging that dedication to conservation and the good of your community are so strongly valued by the judging panel.”
Niederer grew up on her parents’ farm where her father produced soybeans, wheat, straw and her mother ran an eight-stall horse boarding operation. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Natural Resources. During her time as a student she traveled throughout the United States and Latin America for her studies. After graduation, she spent two years on a 60-acre organic vegetable farm, first as a greenhouse manager and later as assistant field manager. Finally, Jess came home to become the 13th generation of Niederer farmers.
After coming back to Hopewell Township in 2010, Niederer leased five acres of land from the family farm for Chickadee Creek Farm on which she started growing her produce on two of the acres. Since then, she has increased production to 17 acres, sells through Community Supported Agriculture, attends five farmers markets and has become a certified organic grower.
As well as being a dedicated farmer, Niederer enjoys giving back to the community. In 2014 she was voted the “Local Hero” by Edible Jersey readers in the Farm/ Farmer category. To add to her community accomplishments, Niederer also is an active member of the Mercer County Board of Agriculture, teaches classes on organic farming through the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey and volunteers as an EMT during the slower months.
For more information on the state’s Outstanding Young Farmer program, visit:www.nj.gov/agriculture/about/sba/cover.html or call Joe Atchison, OYF Program Manager at (609) 984-2223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.