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January 13, 2014

Schoharie farmer nomination gets good reviews

(Continued)

According to SeeThroughNY, Aubertine’s pay rate as commissioner was $120,000 annually.

State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said in a media release that he would support Ball’s nomination.

“Richard Ball has done a great deal for Schoharie County and I am excited that he will soon be sharing his wealth of knowledge with farmers across the state,” Seward said in a prepared statement. “He has a profound understanding of what it takes to operate a farm along with a retail business and how to be successful in what is a demanding field.”

Seward said he has worked with Ball on several occasions.

“I am eager to continue to grow our relationship and to work together to improve agricultural opportunities statewide,” Seward said.

Messages left at telephone numbers and emails for Ball on Sunday afternoon weren’t immediately returned.

Ball was inspired to become a farmer by his grandparents, who were lifelong dairy farmers, according to a biography in Cuomo’s release. At 18 years old, Ball began his career in agriculture as a farm worker at a vegetable farm in Rhode Island, and later, he became operations manager of that farm.

After 20 years in Rhode Island, Ball moved back to the Empire State with an opportunity to become a farm owner. For the past 20 years, he has been the owner and operator of Schoharie Valley Farms in Schoharie, which consists of 200 acres and produces a wide range of vegetable crops, small fruits and greenhouse crops. The farm serves both retail and wholesale consumers through an onsite farm market, which is known as The Carrot Barn, and ships to brokers and restaurants in the local area as well as in New York City.

GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen said Ball’s nomination was well-deserved.

“Richard Ball understands the importance of building relationships between upstate agriculture and downstate consumers,” Van Ooyen said in the governor’s release. “We look forward to working with him to expand opportunities for New York agricultural producers across New York City.”

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