Farm advocates have joined politicians applauding the nomination of a Schoharie County farmer as state agriculture commissioner.
Richard A. Ball of Schoharie Valley Farms, a 200-acre family farm, was nominated Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be the next commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Ball will provide “fresh ideas and strong leadership,” Cuomo said in a media release.
“Agriculture is a vital sector of the state’s economy, providing thousands of jobs, food for people around the globe, and a way of life for generations of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “Richard embodies the proud tradition of farming here in New York state and will be a superb addition to this administration.”
Ball has held a number of local and regional positions related to agriculture, including vice president of the New York State Vegetable Growers Association, president of the Schoharie Valley Association and many positions within the Farm Bureau. He is a past president of the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce and currently represents the county on the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.
Mark Henry, president of the New York State Vegetable Growers Association, said the organization is “proud and excited to hear about fellow vegetable farmer, Rich Ball’s nomination.”
“Rich is first and foremost a farmer _ he’s watched his land flood, worked through blizzards, and watched the first green tips push their heads above soil every spring in spite of all the challenges,” Henry said in the governor’s media release. “With the nomination of Rich Ball as commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, the New York State Vegetable Growers Association feels that 2014 is starting out on a positive note.”
Ball, who must be confirmed by the state Senate, will replace James Bays. Bays has been serving as acting agriculture commissioner since October when Darrel Aubertine stepped down from the post after more than two years.