Cape May County vineyard owner Al Natali and Hunterdon County livestock and hay producer Erick Doyle were sworn in to 4-year terms on the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the Board’s regular and reorganization meeting held on December 20 at the Public Health Environmental & Agricultural Lab (PHEAL) in Ewing.
Doyle, who has been serving an unexpired term on the board since 2015, and Natali were elected to the Board by delegates at the February 2017 State Agricultural Convention, then nominated by the Governor, and later confirmed by the State Senate.
“We are glad to have Erick Doyle continue his service on the board and we believe Al Natali will be a great addition to the State Board of Agriculture, demonstrating the diversity of New Jersey’s agriculture industry,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “They bring their vast knowledge and experience to the board, which sets policy for the industry throughout the entire state.”
Natali converted a 22-acre pasture in Cape May County into an experimental station (all vinifera) vineyard, planting 15 diverse cultivars on four rootstocks. That land eventually became Natali Vineyards, the third vineyard in Cape May and 24th winery in New Jersey. Natali Vineyards has 30 registered labels, producing award winning wine. Natali was also the author of the Petition to Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to designate the Cape May Peninsula as an American Viticultural Area in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Natali earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1973 and taught modern European and Italian history at the City University of New York. He also has been a technical consultant for several national private clients, and was vice-president of Network Planning and Administration for ADP until 2006. He has been a managing member of Natali Vineyards since 2002. He also has served on the Garden State Winegrowers Association and New Jersey Wine Council as well as on the Cape May County Board of Agriculture.
Doyle, who owns Readington River Buffalo Company in Readington, earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Colgate University. He manages a heard of bison ranging from 90 to 150 head on 110 acres of pasture and oversees breeding, nutrition, vaccination, and transportation. He manages an on-site retail operation featuring meat raised on the farm and locally sourced agricultural products, and produces 200 acres of hay per year to feed the herd and to supplement neighboring farmers. Doyle also hosts Rutgers University students in an annual practicum to teach proper handling methods of large animals. He is a 2009 graduate of the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program, a Sunday school instructor and an Eagle Scout.
During its reorganization, the Board of Agriculture elected Mitchell Jones, a Warren County hay and grain producer, as President and Shirley Kline, a Cumberland County fruit and vegetable grower, as vice-president.
The State Board of Agriculture comprises eight members who serve for four years. By law, at least four of its members must represent the top commodity groups in the state. Members serve without salary.