ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the nomination of Richard Ball as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
“Richard Ball is a lifelong farmer and advocate for sound farm policy who will bring fresh ideas and strong leadership to the Department of Agriculture and Markets,” Governor Cuomo said. “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. Richard embodies the proud tradition of farming here in New York State and will be a superb addition to this Administration.”
A native New Yorker, Mr. 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, Mr. 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, Mr. 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, 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, including:
- Vice President - New York State Vegetable Growers Association
- Board of Directors, Member of Executive Committee, Member of Audit Committee, Chairman of Labor Committee – New York Farm Bureau
Ball, his wife Shirley, and his three children are actively engaged in farming with a growing number of future farmers among the grandchildren.