FLEMINGTON, NJ - A Hunterdon teen, Lianna Bonacorsi of Franklin Township, is the 2019 New Jersey Agricultural Fair Ambassador. The 17-year-old North Hunterdon High School senior was chosen Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair Ambassador in August, making her eligible to seek the state post.
She was selected from among six contestants at the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey recent fall dinner meeting. As ambassador, Lianna will visit the state’s 20 fairs in 2019, and also promote agriculture to the public, working to connect people with farmers.
Her parents, Sam and Laura Bonacorsi, operate Bonacorsi Family Farm, with locations in Franklin and Kingwood townships, and Lianna helps out in the summer, on weekends and after school, especially during U-pick apple and strawberry seasons. They grow mostly fruits to sell. The family also raises goats, rabbits, ducks and chickens and in the past had sheep and pigs.
Active in Hunterdon 4-H, Lianna belongs to the Creative Kids food and arts club and the Junior Leaders. She has been photographer, vice president and president in Creative Kids and vice president of Junior Leaders. This year she joined the No Goats No Glory Club. For the past year she was a Hunterdon 4-H Ambassador, which includes working with youngsters in the Clover Buds program.
“Lianna’s knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for agriculture will make her an ideal spokesperson as she attends our state’s agricultural fairs next summer,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said. Her “passion and dedication will allow her to encourage other young people to pursue their goals and become involved in agricultural youth organizations and explore agriculture-related careers in the future.”
“I was not anticipating this at all,” Lianna said on winning the honor. “I’ve never done anything like this, so I was a little intimidated. It will be great to meet the state’s farmers and I am really interested to see the work they do.”
She is active in several groups at North Hunterdon High and plans to go to The College of New Jersey, to major in art education or art therapy, but wants to remain involved in agriculture as well. “I definitely want to come back to agriculture in the future,” she said. “Growing up I didn’t see myself involved in science and math since I am more artistically inclined, but I have definitely learned a whole lot about how agriculture works. It does have a lot do with science and I’m glad agriculture has exposed me to that.”
Lianna said she enjoys getting to know people in the community while working on the farms. “During the strawberry season I’m out there every day and during the apple season, we grow over 70 different types of apples, so I like seeing the reactions when people say, ‘what kind of apple is this? I’ve never heard of it."