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

January 23, 2008

Commissioner Names Members to Organic Advisory Task Force

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the formation and members of the New York State Organic Advisory Task Force. The task force is the first of its kind in New York State and its members will advise the Commissioner on how the State can help the organic community address needs and take advantage of opportunities as consumer demand for organic products grows.

"The demand for organic agriculture is growing at a rapid pace and there is no one better to advise this Department on the position it should take and the challenges yet to overcome than the people that are living it everyday," the Commissioner said. "I welcome the advice and insight these growers and organic trade representatives will share with me in order to help ensure the right programs and assistance are in place to help our industry thrive during this unique market opportunity."

The nineteen members of the New York State Organic Advisory Task Force include:

- Gayle Anderson of Honest Weight Food Coop, Albany (Albany County)

- Kathy Arnold of Twin Oaks Farm, Truxton (Cortland County)

- Jody Bolluyt of Roxbury Farm and CSA, Kinderhook (Columbia County)

- Steven Clarke of Prospect Hill Orchard, Milton (Ulster County)

- Eric Hansen of Hansen Farms, Stanley (Ontario County)

- Matt Harbur of Alfred State College, Alfred (Allegany County)

- Elizabeth Henderson of Genesee Valley Organic CSA and Peacework Organic Farm, Newark (Wayne County)

- Michael Hoffman of Cornell University, Ithaca (Tompkins County)

- Carol King of NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC, Binghamton (Broome County)

- Zaid Kurdieh of Norwich Meadows Farm, Norwich (Chenango County)

- Mary-Howell Martens of Lakeview Organic Grain, Penn Yan (Yates County)

- David Momberger of Growers Coop Grape Juice Co., Westfield (Chautauqua County)

- Rick Pedersen of Pedersen Farms, Seneca Castle (Ontario County)

- Sue Rau of North Country Grown Cooperative, Inc., and Drumlin's End Farms (St. Lawrence County)

- Cheryl Rogowski of Rogowski Farm, Pine Island (Orange County)

- Vaughn Sherman of Jerry Dell Farm, Dryden (Cortland County)

- Martin Stosiek of Markristo Farm, Hillsdale (Columbia County)

- Greg Swartz of Interim Executive Director, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Cobleskill (Schoharie County)

- Linda Tikofsky-Garrison of Quality Milk Program Services, Cornell University, Ithaca (Tompkins County)

The first meeting of the Task Force will take place on February 6, 2008 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, where members have been asked to identify the most significant issues facing the growth of organic agriculture in New York and recommendations on how the State might address them.

New York State supports organic farming and production methods, and last year the Department of Agriculture and Markets announced a new initiative to promote this growing sector of the Stateís agricultural industry. In doing so, the Department added a full-time organic agriculture specialist position and the on-line Organic Farming Resource Center to the Departmentís website. The Department also continues to administer the Organic Certification Reimbursement Program, in which nearly 500 organic producers received a total of $220,800 in reimbursement funds for their organic certification costs last year.

New York State ranks among the top ten states in the country in the number of organic farms. In 2006, there were nearly 600 certified organic farms in New York State with nearly 70,000 acres in production. Organic dairy farms are the largest segment of the organic farm community in New York State. In addition, there were more than 100 organic food processors in the State.

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