Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

November 21, 2016

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Partners with the New York State Agricultural Society to Co-Sponsor the 185th Annual Meeting and Forum

Commissioner Ball to Deliver the Annual State of the State Agricultural Address

Panel Discussions to Include New York State Grown & Certified and Other Financial and Technical Assistance Available to the Industry

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is partnering with the New York State Agricultural Society to co-sponsor the Society’s 185th Annual Meeting and Agricultural Forum.  The Forum is one of the largest meetings of its kind in the state, bringing together all sectors of the food system to explore topics critical to the future of New York agriculture and to recognize the contributions of its agricultural leaders and stakeholders.  Commissioner Ball will deliver the annual State of the State Agricultural Address at the event, which takes place on January 5, 2016 at The Holiday Inn in Liverpool, New York.

“I’m very pleased to attend the Agricultural Society’s annual meeting and join with our shared community in considering new strategies to grow the agricultural industry in New York,” said Commissioner Ball. “We have had a tremendous year and I can’t think of a better way to start 2017 than to focus on our collective goals and build on our accomplishments. I thank the New York State Agricultural Society for their continued partnership, and applaud their unprecedented 185th Forum. The Society’s longstanding contributions have impacted agriculture across the state and across virtually all commodities.”

“We are especially pleased that the Department will partner again with the Society during this special anniversary year,” said Hans Kunze, President of the NYS Agricultural Society. “One hundred eighty five years ago, our industry was literally in its infancy with producers focused primarily on feeding their own families before selling product to sustain a growing nation. Today, we’re in a much different position but the Society continues to bring issues, strategies and opinions to the table to stimulate discussion and collaboration. In 2016, we had a record crowd attend, representing all segments of the state’s food and agriculture industry. This year’s program is shaping up to be just as stimulating.”

The focus of the forum this year is “collaboration” and as part of the program, forum attendees will have the opportunity to attend one of three breakout panel sessions featuring producers, lenders, government officials, and educators.  The Department, along with Empire State Development, will host one of several panel discussions on financial and technical assistance available for farmers and agri-businesses. 

The panel discussion will include an update on the Department’s New York State Grown & Certified program. Launched in August, the New York State Grown & Certified program assures consumers that the food they are buying is local and produced to a higher standard by requiring participating producers to adopt good agricultural practices and enroll in an environmental management program.  Last week, Governor Cuomo announced funding to help farmers join the program.  For more information click here.

This year’s forum also includes an extensive awards program recognizing individuals, producers, agribusinesses and members of the media for standout performance. Farm operations in continuous operation by the same families on the same land for 100 and 200 years will also be recognized with official proclamations by the Governor’s Office.

In addition, the NYS Agricultural Society Foundation is again this year sponsoring 15 Ambassadors to attend the 2017 Forum. Ambassadors are young adults, ages 18 to 25, who are either attending college or newly employed in the agricultural industry. This is a unique opportunity for this age group to be a part of an event discussing major industry issues, meet the decision-makers, and build their own professional networks. Ambassadors receive free overnight accommodations and meals, NYS Ag Society membership, and invitations to pre-forum events sponsored by Cornell University and the Friends of the Witter Museum. The application deadline is December 1, 2016. Visit for additional information.

Early registration for the New York State Agricultural Society Forum and pre-forum events are strongly encouraged, with a discount offered to registrations received by December 16. For complete details on the Forum and information concerning the Society, visit:

The New York State Agricultural Society originated in 1832 and played a vital role in the establishment of the Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell and the Geneva Experiment Station. The organization was also the original operator of the Great New York State Fair for 57 years until the operations of the event were assumed by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets in 1899.  In 1985, the Agricultural Society worked with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to develop the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute (LEAD NY), which has trained hundreds of leaders in the field of New York agriculture since its inception.  In 1997, the NYS Agricultural Society promoted the formation of “The Friends of the Daniel Parrish Witter Agricultural Museum,” with the purpose to promote New York’s agricultural development at the museum, which is located at the State Fairgrounds. In 2011, the NYS Agricultural Society Foundation was formed to support industry recognition, education, and leadership development for future generations involved in the New York State food and agriculture industry.

2016 Press Releases