Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture, has announced his retirement after 14 years of service at the top post at the Department of Agriculture.
According to Gov. Phil Murphy, “For the past 14 years, New Jersey’s farming and agriculture community has had a friend in Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher. Doug has been an important partner in our administration-wide efforts to fight hunger and food insecurity. He has advocated for agri-tourism and supported the growth of businesses that are keeping farms financially viable and our agricultural heritage alive. His tenure has ensured that our nickname as the Garden State remains a point of pride for all New Jerseyans. I thank Doug for his years of service to both my and the previous two administrations and wish him nothing but the best.”
The State Board of Agriculture’s appointment of Douglas Fisher as Secretary of Agriculture was approved by Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Feb. 10, 2009. At the time, Fisher was serving as a member of the General Assembly. Gov. Chris Christie supported Fisher’s continued service and Gov. Murphy accepted the State Board of Agriculture’s recommendation for Fisher to continue as Secretary in January of 2018.
Fisher received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Bryant College in Rhode Island in 1969. He served in the New Jersey National Guard from 1969 to 1975. In 1971, he began a 30-year career as a supermarket owner and operator. He is a Realtor and a former New Jersey franchise owner of the Entrepreneur’s Source. A Democrat, he was elected to the Assembly from the 3rd Legislative District in 2001 and was re-elected three times, serving as Deputy Majority Whip and Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He also served on the Budget, Commerce and Regulated Professions committees. He was a Cumberland County Freeholder from 1992 to 2001 and was a Freeholder Director from 1996-2000. He also served as a Bridgeton City Councilman from 1990-92.
As a state legislator, Fisher was the prime sponsor of the law to ban harvesting of Horseshoe Crabs, which enhanced the survival of many endangered migratory shorebirds in the Western Hemisphere. He also introduced the original bill to limit the use of handheld cell phones in motor vehicles.
In addition to his political positions, Fisher has been a member of the Bridgeton Rotary for more than 25 years and is a past-president of the South Jersey Freeholders Association; past-Treasurer of the South Jersey Economic Development District; and, past-Secretary of the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization.
Fisher has been the treasurer of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), president of Food Export-Northeast, and president of the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture. In 2014, he was awarded the Thomas W. Kelly New Jersey Food and Council Government Service Award; in 2010, he received an Honorary American FFA Degree; In 2009, he was given the South Jersey Freeholders Southern Star Award; in 2008, he was named the Legislator of the Year by the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association; and in 2005, New Jersey Farm Bureau named him Legislator of the Year.
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