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Fully Official Now, Richard Ball Is New York's Ag Commissioner

Ball, a direct-marketing farmer, confirmed as ag commissioner after serving as acting commissioner.

May 14, 2014

2 Min Read

Last week, Richard Ball of Schoharie, N.Y., was confirmed as New York's Commissioner of Ag and Markets by the state senate. He has served as interim commissioner since January.

Ball, a lifelong farmer and native New Yorker, knows agriculture from the ground up. At 18 years old, he started his ag career as a farm worker at a vegetable farm in Rhode Island. He later became operations manager of that same farm


After 20 years in Rhode Island, he returned 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, which consists of 200 acres and produces and retails vegetable, small fruits, greenhouse crops, bakery goods and local beef via "The Carrot Barn" on farm market. The farm also wholesales to brokers and restaurants in the local area as well as New York City.

He, wife Shirley, and three children have a growing number of future farmers among the grandchildren. Ball has held a number of positions within agriculture and community organizations at the local, state and national level.

"My main goal as commissioner is to work with industry to help New York agriculture get to that next level," notes Commissioner Ball. "I've had a busy first few months working with the talented staff at the Department of Agriculture and Markets and have a new appreciation of the agency's role in helping New York agriculture.

"This industry is on the cusp of great things," he adds. "I look forward to working with our partners to help facilitate this growth in the months ahead."

In noting the confirmation, Governor Andrew Cuomo commented that Ball had done an exceptional job as interim commissioner. "He has been pivotal in addressing industry needs, raising the agency's profile among our partners in the private sector.

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