|Saratoga Springs, New York—“American Farmland Trust applauds Governor Cuomo’s nomination of Darrel Aubertine as New York’s next Commissioner of Agriculture,” said David Haight, New York State Director for American Farmland Trust. “Governor Cuomo recognizes the importance of New York’s agricultural industry to our state’s economy and the food security of all New Yorkers. With this nomination he is taking another important step to stop the loss of farms in New York.”
Darrel Aubertine recently served as state senator of the 48th Senate District in central and northern New York, which is comprised of Oswego, Jefferson and part of St. Lawrence counties. As a state senator, Darrel Aubertine was an outspoken advocate for the funding of environmental programs that which help farmers protect land and water resources.
In 2010, Aubertine sponsored legislation supported by American Farmland Trust aimed at improving the efficiency of New York’s Farmland Protection Program. The bill, signed into law in May of 2010, cut red tape for farmers by making private land trusts eligible to apply for funding from the state’s Farmland Protection Program. Prior to that, only municipalities and counties were eligible to apply. The majority of these applicants would then choose to partner with private land trusts to complete the projects.
“Farmland preservation protects our open spaces from development, provides revenue for farmers, and keeps our land producing food for New York families,” said Aubertine at the time the bill became law.
Aubertine’s nomination comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo’s nomination of
Joe Martens, president of the Open Space Institute, as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. A non-profit land preservation group, Open Space Institute has protected thousands of acres of farmland in the Hudson Valley and the New York City watershed.
“Darrel Aubertine’s nomination as Commissioner of Agriculture is a fantastic complement to the recent appointment of Joe Martens,” said Haight. “We look forward to working closely with both Darrel and Joe to bolster New York’s farm economy while preventing farmland from being lost to development and helping farmers protect water quality.”
Aubertine served as chair of both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Rural Resources Commission. Before joining the Senate, Aubertine served in the State Assembly for five years. Prior to that he was a member of the Jefferson County Legislature, and he began his political career in local government as a member of the Cape Vincent Town Council.
Since 1971, Aubertine has owned and operated the sixth-generation heritage Triple-A Farm in Cape Vincent, for which he purchased a plot of land while still in high school. “Darrel Aubertine’s experience as a dairy farmer and his understanding of agricultural policy from his time as a county and state legislator make him an ideal choice for this position,” said Haight.
Aubertine has served as a vocal advocate for New York’s dairy industry at a time of record low milk prices. New York‘s dairy farmers manage approximately
2.55 million acres of agricultural land—nine percent of the land in the state. “As an organization working to stop the loss of farms, American Farmland Trust recognizes the importance of enhancing the profitability of dairy farming in New York to our state’s working landscape.”
“Darrel’s experience and expertise in agriculture is unparalleled,” Governor Cuomo said. “He fought for years on behalf of farmers in the state legislature and delivered real results. New York’s agricultural community will thrive with Darrel at the helm of this critical department and I thank him for his service.”