Jessica A. Chittenden|
September 16, 2009
Commissioner Announces New Chair, Members For Soil & Water
George Proios of Suffolk County to Lead State’s Leading Agricultural Conservation Group
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the newly-elected Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, as well as two new members. The mission of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee is to develop and oversee the implementation of effective soil and water conservation and agricultural nonpoint source water quality programs for New York State.
“New York’s abundant water sources and rich soils serve as the foundation of our vibrant agricultural industry,” the Commissioner said, “and to help our farmers protect those resources, we are fortunate to have a State Soil and Water Committee that strives to combine traditional conservation methods with the newest technology to address environmental concerns at the local level. I welcome George Proios as the new Chairman, as well as David Brass and Charles Colby to the Committee and look forward to working with them in their new roles.”
The State Committee is composed of five voting and nine advisory members who represent a wide range of agricultural, environmental and other interests, allowing the State Committee to carry out its work through a network of partnerships between state, federal and local agencies, as well as citizen interests and the private sector.
George Proios of Suffolk County was elected to serve as Chair of the State Committee. Proios has served as a Voting Member of the State Committee for over seven years and is the Chairman of the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District and a Board Member of the New York Association of Conservation Districts. Among numerous achievements, Proios has been the recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Special Award of Merit for the development of environmental programs. He is the first non-farmer to be the Chair of the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee since its establishment over 60 years ago.
George Proios, newly-elected Chairman of the State Committee, said, “Local leadership and grass roots decision making are key to successfully managing our natural resources. It is important that citizens understand the vital role of their County Soil and Water Conservation Districts in protecting the natural resources in their communities.”
The State Committee also appointed two new voting members: David Brass of Jefferson County and Charles Colby of Monroe County. Brass replaced Grange Representative and former Chairman Dennis Hill, who served on the State Committee for 12 years. Brass has been a farmer for nearly two decades and a Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District Board Member since 2002.
Colby replaced the New York Association of Conservation District Representative Robert Aman, who served on the Committee since 1999. Colby is President of Colby Homestead Farms Inc., a seventh generation family farm established in 1802. He has served on the Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District Board since 2002 and has been their Chairman since 2003.
The State Committee essentially serves as an information and idea exchange between member agencies and industry groups. The Committee establishes policy to guide the programs of New York’s 58 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, helping them organize, develop and carry out their programs. One program in particular is Agricultural Environmental Management in which over $10 million is allocated annually to help farmers implement conservation practices on the land while providing consumers with fresh, local farm products.
For more information on the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee or your County Soil and Water Conservation District visit http://www.nys-soilandwater.org/
2009 Press Releases