The New York State Senate unanimously confirmed Richard A. Ball as Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
“I thank Governor Cuomo for the opportunity to lead the Department of Agriculture and Markets and thank the state Senate for confirming my nomination as commissioner," Ball said.
"As a lifelong farmer, my main goal as commissioner is to work with industry to help New York agriculture get to that next level. 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," Ball said.
This industry is on the cusp of great things and I look forward to working with our partners to help facilitate this growth in the months ahead.”
A native New Yorker, Ball has made a living in agriculture his entire life. His inspiration to become a farmer came from his grandparents, who were lifelong dairy farmers.
At 18 years old, Ball began his career in agriculture 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, Ball moved back to New York 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, NY, 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 known as “The Carrot Barn” and ships to brokers and restaurants in the local area as well as New York City.
Ball has held a number of positions within agriculture and community organizations at the local, state and national level. He and his wife Shirley, as well as his three children are actively engaged in farming with a growing number of future farmers among the grandchildren.
“Since meeting Richard Ball several years ago, I’ve been impressed with his passion for agriculture — farming is in his blood, he’s not afraid to dig in and get the job done, nor does he hesitate to lend a hand and help his fellow farmer," said state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee
"Throughout his career in agriculture, including his running of the successful Schoharie Valley Farms and 'The Carrot Barn,' Richard has proven to be someone who knows the ins and outs of agriculture. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for this excellent appointment and am looking forward to working with our new commissioner to help New York’s biggest industry continue to grow,” Ritchie said.
"I am extremely pleased to see Richard Ball confirmed by the full Senate to become the new Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets. He is a farmer through and through and understands the needs of the state's thriving agricultural community," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau.
"New York Farm Bureau looks forward to continuing to partner with the commissioner for the benefit of every farmer in the state, and I personally would like to offer my sincere congratulations,” Norton said.
For more information about the Department of Agriculture and Markets, please visit www.agriculture.ny.gov.