Agricultural Honor Garden Narrative: Barbara O’Neill
August 2, 2014
Dr. Barbara O’Neill has been employed by Rutgers Cooperative Extension for 36 years since August 1978.
For 26 years, she worked as an Extension educator in Sussex County (1978-2004). In 1979, she began
judging foods competitions at the fair and continues to do so 35 years later, currently judging both the
Blueberry and Cheesecake competitions (yes, the latter is an especially tough job, but somebody has to do
it!). Barbara has also judged 4-H public presentations in Sussex County for the past 35 years (1979-2014).
She developed the Jersey Fresh exhibit at the NJSF/SCF&HS and provided leadership for this event for 15
years (1984-1999). Jersey Fresh grew from a one-day event to 10 days of dairy product promotions
involving over $50,000 of state and local funding. The late Margaret Hait succeeded Barbara in overseeing
this popular fair attraction through 2009 for a very successful 25 year total run. From 1989-1999, Barbara
served on the SCF&HS board of directors. In 1992, she won the NJ Dairy Promoter of the Year Contest
sponsored by the NJ Dairy Industry Advisory Council. With the late Rita Snook, Barbara also provided
leadership in 1990-1991 for the construction of the Sussex County Heritage Quilts that showcase the
county’s agricultural roots. For the past 23 years, these quilts have been hung in the Richards building
during the annual 10-day fair. As Financial Resource Management Specialist for Rutgers Cooperative
Extension, Barbara develops educational programs for farm families. She is a member of the Annie’s
Project-NJ team that provides business and financial management programs for women farmers. The team
has taught hundreds of women statewide since 2010 and has won several state and national awards.
Margaret Hait (L) and Barb O’Neill (R) (1990s) Annie’s Project-NJ Team Meeting (2014)
SCF&HS Jersey Fresh Display Rutgers University