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

November 16, 2017

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Partners with the New York State Agricultural Society to Co-Sponsor the 186th Annual Meeting and Forum

Forum to Highlight Impact of New Technology on State’s Agricultural Industry

Commissioner Ball to Deliver the Annual State of Agriculture Address

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 186th Annual Meeting and Agricultural Forum. The Forum is the oldest and largest meeting of its kind in the State, bringing together more than 500 representatives from all sectors of the food industry to discuss topics that are crucial to the future of New York agriculture and to recognize the contributions of its many stakeholders. Commissioner Ball will also deliver the annual State of Agriculture address during the Forum, which takes place on January 4, 2018 at The Holiday Inn in Liverpool, New York.

“I look forward to this event every year and the chance to discuss new ideas, strategies and opportunities to grow our industry and make it stronger for the next generation,” said Commissioner Ball. “We have a lot to be proud of when it comes to New York Agriculture. Even as we look ahead to building on our accomplishments in the coming year, the Agricultural Society’s annual meeting is the perfect time to remember how we got here and to celebrate the great strides we are making in sustainability, environmental stewardship, food safety, and so much more. The Society’s contributions to our industry have benefitted farms of all types and sizes and I thank its members for their continued partnership throughout the years.”

President of the NYS Agricultural Society Elizabeth Claypoole, said, “We appreciate the collaboration and participation of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets in the annual Ag Society Forum.  We look forward to Commissioner Ball’s presentation on the “State of Agriculture”. This presentation continues to be the highlight of the meeting.”

The focus of the Forum this year is “harnessing the power of agricultural technology.” As the population grows and the number of agricultural producers decreases around the world, technological advancements are making it possible to increase yields, protect crops from extreme weather conditions, keep food safer and fresher, while reducing environmental impact. As part of the program, two national keynote speakers and local experts will provide unique insight on the challenges and opportunities of utilizing emerging technology on today’s farms. The program will include the following:

  • Gregg Halverson, President and Chairman of the Board of Black Gold Farms, a fourth-generation family business which is currently the largest producer and handler of fresh potatoes for the potato chip supply chain in the world.
  • Dr. Nick Dokoozlian, Vice President of Viticulture, Chemistry and Enology at E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, CA, Research Chair for the National Grape and Wine Initiative, and an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Viticulture and Enology. Dokoozlian has been working with IBM to develop a new irrigation system to grow grapes using less water.
  • Craig Yunker, managing partner of CY Farms, a 6,000-acre diversified farming operation in Western New York.
  • Rich Wildman, founder and CEO of Agrinetix, a precision agronomy and technology integration firm.
  • Dale Hemminger, primary owner of Hemdale Farms & Greenhouses located in Seneca Castle, NY. 
  • Jim Livengood, co-founder and owner of Radicle Farm Company of Newark, NJ, a year-round hydroponic grower of baby greens and herbs.

The Forum also includes an awards program recognizing individuals, producers, agribusinesses and members of the media for their contributions to the industry. 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 Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In addition, the NYS Agricultural Society Foundation is again sponsoring 15 Ambassadors to attend the 2018 Forum through its scholarship program.  Ambassadors are young adults, ages 18 to 25, who are either attending college or newly employed in the agricultural industry. This scholarship provides them with a unique opportunity to hear from and engage with industry decision-makers and participate in personal and professional growth training sessions. Each Ambassador is paired with a mentor with a similar interest and an extensive knowledge of New York agriculture. 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.

Early registration for the New York State Agricultural Society Forum and pre-Forum events are strongly encouraged. Discounted registration fees will be offered through December 15, 2017. For complete details on the Forum and information about the Society, visit:

The mission of the New York State Agricultural Society is to foster, promote, and improve the NYS food and agricultural industry through education, leadership development and recognition programs. Established in 1832, the Society played a vital role in the creation and development of the State 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 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,” which is located at the State Fairgrounds and showcases New York’s agricultural development. 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.

2017 Press Releases