The Atlantic County Board of Agriculture has announced the David M. Rizzotte Jr. Memorial Scholarship honoring character, leadership and service.

David M. Rizzotte Jr. was a lifelong farmer and agricultural leader. Upon graduation magna cum laude from Villanova University, he returned to the family’s Glossy Fruit Farm in Hammonton, where he and his brothers grew apples, peaches, tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers and sweet potatoes, selling their produce wholesale throughout the state and region.

They slowly transitioned from apples and peaches into blueberries and also added a farm market to greet visitors passing by their Route 206 farm on their way to the Jersey Shore.

In 1984, David became the youngest farmer to be elected to serve on the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture and went on to serve as its youngest president. Both as a state board member and as a community leader, he was committed to promoting and protecting farming throughout the state, helping the state Department of Agriculture start the Jersey Fresh promotional campaign and working tenaciously to protect and sustain farming in the Pinelands.

This memorial scholarship seeks to honor students interested in pursuing careers in production agriculture or supporting industries who exhibit that same outstanding character, leadership and service exemplified by Rizzotte. Eligible students should demonstrate in an essay and application form:

• Agricultural career goals

• Exceptional character, ethics and integrity

• A hardworking nature and drive to be successful

• Leadership qualities

• A concern for others and commitment to give back to their communities.

The David M. Rizzotte Jr. Memorial Scholarship will be given to an Atlantic County high school senior or first-year college student who will be attending a university, college or technical school in the fall of 2020 in pursuit of a career in production agriculture/horticulture, with studies including but not limited to farm business management and marketing, agricultural engineering, agronomy, crop and soil sciences, entomology, plant pathology, horticulture, animal/equine science, veterinary medicine or food science.

The ACBA’s scholarship fund was created in 1998 with an investment designated for educational purposes allowing the board’s Executive Committee to support students studying agriculture. Through this program, the ACBA wishes to encourage the scientific study of agriculture and promote it as a useful, profitable and dignified career. Education is critical to success of today’s agricultural entrepreneurs and the ACBA hopes that this scholarship will entice young people to pursue careers in production agriculture or one of the many related fields of study that support today’s farmers. This scholarship was renamed to honor the memory of David M. Rizzotte Jr. in 2016 upon the untimely passing of one of Atlantic County agriculture’s most strident advocates and young leaders.

An application for the scholarship can be found at rutgers-atlantic.org/pdfs/ACBA-Rizzotte-Memorial-Scholarship-2018.pdf. The form is due by March 27.

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