Vineland, New Jersey
Maurice Barsuglia owns Barsuglia Farms, a 250-acre vegetable farm located in Vineland, New Jersey.
Maurice raises over 20 different varieties of vegetables throughout the year, including lettuce, spinach, cabbage, peppers, eggplant, cilantro, chard, beets and parsley.
A family tradition
Barsuglia Farms was founded in 1949 by Maurice’s grandfather, Walter Barsuglia. Walter started by growing green beans, cucumbers and sweet potatoes. A few years later, in 1952, Maurice’s dad, Maurice Sr. and his wife Elaine joined Walter in the farming operation.
In time, they expanded the farm’s crops to also include lettuce, eggplant and peppers. Maurice Sr. sought ways to improve his crops by experimenting with plastic mulch and drip irrigation until he passed away in 1982.
In 1983, at the age of 26, Maurice Barsuglia, Jr along with his mother Elaine and sister Debbie, took over the farming operation. Using what he had learned from his father, as well as the passion for quality that Maurice Sr. had passed down to his son, Maurice Jr. expanded the operation by procuring more land and expanding into new vegetable varieties. He also implemented computerized soil moisture programs along with drip irrigation techniques to conserve water and energy.
The farm today, with help from Farm Credit
One of the biggest challenges Maurice Jr. faces on the farm is the seasonal nature of vegetable production. During the months where it’s warm enough to produce vegetables, around eight or nine per year, he has an income from product sales. But, the other three or four months of the year, when it’s too cold for vegetable production, Maurice Jr. doesn’t.
That’s where Farm Credit East comes in.
“Farm Credit’s support helps us get through the tough times,” Maurice Jr. said. “If you go through a regular bank, they really don't know the challenges of a farm and what farmers need.”
But Farm Credit is different. Maurice Jr.’s interactions at Farm Credit have been with lenders who understand his business and the unique needs that come along with vegetable farming.
In addition to specialized knowledge of the agriculture industry, Maurice Jr. appreciates the personalized attention he receives at Farm Credit.
“Farm Credit is like family,” he said. “When you deal with Farm Credit, you're dealing with people who know you and you know them. It's not like dealing with strangers.”
The next generation of Barsuglias
In 2005, Maurice’s son, Brian, joined the family business. Together, Brian and Maurice have further expanded the business to include greenhouse production.
Brian currently runs the day-to-day field operations for the farm, among other responsibilities. He, too, is passionate about farming and the quality of crops grown, just like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him.