Freeholder Deputy Director Balvir Singh announced that the Freeholder Board at its Wednesday, March 27 public meeting, recognized women leaders in the agricultural and public safety communities in honor of Women’s History Month.
“It is a privilege to recognize these incredible women who are doing so much for our community all while filling roles that are typically male-dominated,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Balvir Singh. “In honor of Women’s History Month, the Freeholder Board wanted to take the time to thank them for their service to Burlington County from the farms to the front line.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are 969,672 women farmers in the United States, or 31% and they are responsible for $12.9 billion in economic impact.
The Freeholder Board recognized and thanked women of agriculture in Burlington County. This included members of the Burlington County Board of Agriculture and the Board’s subcommittee, the Women’s Committee. The women farmers recognized include Gina Lounsberry, Lounsberry Farms; Amy Zorn, Hunter’s Farm & Market; Marilyn Russo, Russo’s Orchard Lane Farm; Danielle Wainwright, Clover Valley Farm, Inc.; Danyelle Kumpel, Greenfield Farm; Shannon Higginbotham, Kiara Higginbotham, Cheyenne Higginbotham, Sheryl Conlill, Kim Tuscano with Cheyenne’s Farm.
Gina Lounsberry from Lounsberry Farms. Lounsberry Farms of Florence and Columbus is a family farm selling top-quality hay, straw and grain. The Lounsberrys farm over 600 acres and have been farming in Burlington County since the 1930’s.
Amy Zorn from Hunter’s Farm & Market in Cinnaminson. Hunter’s Farm & Market is located on a National Bicentennial Farm, farmed by the Hunter Family since 1760. The market offers fruits and vegetables, Jersey Fresh when in season, specializing in sweet corn (white & bicolor), sweet potatoes, yams, fresh baked goodies, candies and much more.
Marilyn Russo from Russo’s Orchard Lane Farm in Chesterfield. Russo's Orchard Lane Farm is a family owned and operated 250-acre fruit, vegetable, and greenhouse tomato farm. All farm produce is picked fresh daily and sold in at the farm market on the farm or at Trenton Farmers Market located in Trenton. They also sell a selection of other fruits, vegetables, jams, jellies, cider, fall decorations, Christmas trees, and much more.
Danielle Wainwright from Clover Valley Farm, Inc. that was started in Florence in 1955. The farm was a dairy farm that milked 100% registered Holsteins. In the late 2000’s, Clover Valley Farms transitioned into having beef cows. In 2013, they moved to the Southampton farm, where they were able to expand the herd and add laying hens. In addition to the beef cattle, they also provide custom nutrition work and feed. One thing that hasn't changed: their passion about the health and well-being of all livestock.
Danyelle Kumpel from Greenfield Farms in Southampton. Greenfield farms is a family owned farm featuring the finest Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables. The market offers sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, apples, blueberries. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks.
Shannon Higginbotham, Kiara Higginbotham, Cheyenne Higginbotham, Sheryl Conlill, Kim Tuscano run Cheyenne’s Farm in Marlton, an award-winning family farm dedicated to growing the best produce. Their farm is run with all natural growing practices, non-gmo produce, specializing in heirlooms and nutrition. Local honey is made right on the farm. During the spring they have beautiful plants, bedding flowers and hanging baskets. They grow corn and tomatoes in the summer and have pick your own pumpkins and hayrides. People can also pick their own strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes during their harvest on the farm. Winter holiday season includes fresh cut Christmas trees and handmade wreaths.
In addition to women on the farm, the Freeholder Board highlighted exemplary women on the front line including Jennifer Dugan, Supervising Public Safety Telecommunicator; Diane Jassman, Undersheriff; Jill Giannini, Burlington County Sheriff’s Officer; Lt. Patricia Cauley, Supervisor Burlington County Corrections; Lt. Debra Leitenberger, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.
Jennifer Dugan started with County in 1994 and has worked her way up through the ranks. Currently, Jennifer is a Supervising Public Safety Telecommunicator and has been assigned to the training division since December 2018. She has eagerly taken on new duties and is responsible for the administration of the Rowan College at Burlington County class, training new employees and maintaining all training records for 126 employees. Jennifer is working very hard at making Burlington County Central Communications the best 9-1-1 center in the state.
Undersheriff Diane Jassmann started with the Sheriff’s Department in February of 1996. By July of that year, she was hired as a sheriff’s investigator and was assigned to the Sheriff’s Warrant Unit. Over the years, Undersheriff Jassmann distinguished herself as a leader. She first ran the Warrant Unit as the Officer-in-charge before becoming Sergeant on April 23, 2007. On January 10, 2011, she became Lieutenant and took over the responsibility of running the Courts Division. In May of that same year, she became the department’s first female Sheriff’s Officer Chief and regained supervisory authority over the Warrant Unit as well as the Courts Division. On September 10, 2018, Diane was appointed to the position of Undersheriff and on May 1, 2019 she will become Acting Burlington County Sheriff.
Sheriff’s Officer Jill Giannini became an explosive detection canine handler for the Sheriff’s Department in August of 2014. Her dog, Niko, was a one-year-old German Sheppard from the Bucks County SPCA. The team does daily patrols of the County Courts Complex and provides assistance to other law enforcement agencies. In 2017, Jill and Niko participated in the United States Police Canine Association Detector Trials national competition where they earned third place.
Lt. Patricia Cauley started her career as a Corrections Officer in September 2002 and today is the department’s most senior female supervisor. In April 2009, she was promoted to Sergeant and then was promoted to Lieutenant in May 2017. Throughout her career, Lt. Cauley has strived to make not only herself better, but motivates other Corrections Officers as well. Lt. Cauley recently attended and successfully completed the New Jersey Correctional Leadership series, which is sponsored by the American Jail Association and the New Jersey County Jail Wardens Association.
Lt. Debra Leitenberger has been with the Prosecutor’s office for 24 years and has an exemplary record. She also is a veteran of the Army Criminal Investigation Command. Lt. Leitenberger has the utmost integrity and has spent a substantial amount of her time in the Prosecutor’s Office supervising the detectives in the Special Investigations Unit, which works to ensure the highest level of professionalism by members of our Office and law enforcement throughout the County.
Lastly, the Freeholder Board also recognized strong women in Burlington County for their role in going above and beyond for those in their community. The community champions recognized at the meeting included Joyce Howell, Reva Foster, and Kristen Carty-Babcock.
“All of these women have demonstrated a profound amount of dedication to their work and are deserving of the utmost respect. Agriculture and public safety are essential aspects of everyday life that are too often overlooked. The Freeholder Board cannot thank them enough for their service,” concluded Singh.
Freeholder Deputy Director Balvir Singh recognized the Burlington County Board of Agriculture and the Board’s subcommittee, the Women’s Committee and other women from the farm community.
Freeholder Deputy Director Balvir Singh recognized women on the front line from the Public Safety Department, Sheriff’s Department, Department of Corrections and the Prosecutor’s Office.
Freeholder Felicia Hopson recognized community champions for going above and beyond in the community.