Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

February 27, 2007

Hooker Confirmed as State Agriculture Commissioner

The New York State Senate today confirmed Patrick Hooker as the 26th New York State Agriculture Commissioner. As Agriculture Commissioner, Hooker will oversee the responsibilities of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which addresses agricultural economic development, environmental stewardship, and food safety issues to ensure agriculture remains a significant contributor to New York’s economy and quality of life.

"I am deeply grateful to Governor Spitzer for allowing me this extraordinary opportunity to serve the industry that means so much to me and my family," Hooker said. "As Commissioner, I intend to be an advocate for farm families, explaining and defending their businesses to government officials and the public alike so that everyone can fully appreciate and have faith in the incredible food system we have here in New York State."

Albert Einstein once said, "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." "Following the advice of Einstein, my goal is to bring value to the State’s food and agriculture industry," Hooker added. "By connecting and engaging those involved in the industry, as well as those not directly involved, I hope to accomplish a greater understanding of the many diverse and legitimate needs that exist in this complex system, resulting in a stronger and more vibrant agricultural industry in New York State."

Hooker was nominated to be Commissioner by Governor Eliot Spitzer on January 11, 2007 and joins the Governor’s administration with a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for the State’s agricultural industry. Hooker most recently worked for New York Farm Bureau for 16 years as the farm advocacy organization’s top lobbyist, serving as Director of the Public Policy Division. He has also worked in the State Legislature – first for State Assembly Minority Leader C.D. "Rapp" Rappleyea as his Rural Affairs Advisor, and later as the Director of the New York State Senate Agriculture Committee, chaired by State Senator John "Randy" Kuhl.

Growing up working on a neighbor’s dairy farm in rural Madison County, Hooker was active in the Junior Holstein Club, as well as the Cazenovia Aggies Chapter of the FFA, serving as State FFA President in 1979. Hooker graduated from Morrisville State College and Cornell University, where he studied agriculture and achieved the Dean’s list at both institutions.

New York agriculture encompasses 25 percent of the State’s landscape and generated $3.6 billion for our economy last year. Currently, New York State has 7.5 million acres of farmland with 35,000 farms.

PHOTOGRAPH of Commissioner Hooker from today’s confirmation process is available upon request by emailing

2007 Press Releases