For the brothers who operate Bullock Farms in Cream Ridge, crops of choice are corn, soybeans and pumpkins.
Field corn and soybeans are prominent as well on Ellis Farms in Yardville, where Scott Ellis also grows sweet corn that he sells to area supermarkets, roadside markets and from his own produce stand.
And at Rustin Farms in Princeton Junction, Steve Jany is in the corn and soybean business as well as growing wheat and forage crops such as straw and hay.
A Strong Industry for New Jersey
These three farms in central New Jersey are ideal representatives of the state’s strong row crop industry. The last few years have had more ups than downs for row crop farmers, Jany says.
“Overall, the general row crop economy has been good the past four or five years,” says Jany, who served on the State Board of Agriculture from 1997 to 2002 and was president his final year.
All three farms have a long history, 100-acre Bullock Farms being the oldest. It has been in the Bullock family since 1860, with brothers Marty and Rick now the fifth-generation owners.
“We grow the high-protein soybeans,” says Marty Bullock, who serves on the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. “They go to a local outfit that cleans and bags them for the Asian market in New York. That’s where most of our soybeans go.” He adds, “We sell the corn right out of here from the barn to deer hunters. What’s left over goes to Lancaster (Pa.) for animals, through different brokers in that area.”
Diversifying Their Operations
Bullock Farms has been growing pumpkins for nearly 30 years, and has had a Christmas tree operation since 1999. Rustin Farms has evolved through the years since it was founded around 1911 by the father of Jany’s former partner, Earl Tindall. Jany and Tindall went into business together in 1974, and then Jany and his brother took ownership of the farm after Tindall retired in 1998.
The farm was growing fresh-market produce and selling tomatoes to Campbell’s Soups and Stokely canned goods. Then in the late 1960s, Tindall bought a grain elevator and the farm became a corn and soybean operation.
Much of Rustin Farms’ soybean crop is sold to Perdue and shipped through Port Newark to East Asia. Jany says some soybeans are sold to Farmers Brokerage & Supply in Allentown, N.J. In addition, Rustin Farms grows a good bit of straw and hay for horse feed.
Ellis’ farm has been in Mercer County since 1960, when his grandfather moved there from Pennsylvania. He grows field corn and soybeans, and sells a considerable amount of his soybeans to grain companies that export through Port Newark, the largest port on the East Coast and third largest in the U.S.