Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Senate unanimously confirmed Darrel J. Aubertine as Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
"Darrel's expertise on agricultural matters and his tireless advocacy for farmers in the state legislature is unmatched," Cuomo said.
Aubertine said, "New York's diverse agricultural industry and vast marketplace requires responsible oversight and advocacy – roles I am proud to take on. Governor Cuomo's vision of creating greater access to locally produced farm and food products sets the stage for a resurgence of our economy and offers hope for farming communities across the state. I look forward to working with our agricultural partners to help our farmers and industry flourish."
Aubertine most recently served as State Senator of the 48th Senate District in Central and Northern New York, which is comprised of Oswego, Jefferson and part of St. Lawrence counties.
He served as chair of both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Rural Resources Commission, and as the ranking majority member and vice chair of the Energy & Telecommunications Committee.
Before joining the Senate in 2008, Aubertine represented the 118th Assembly district in the New York State Assembly for five years, where he served as the chair of the Commission on State-Local Relations. From 1996-2001, he was a member of the Jefferson County Legislature and was elected to chair in 1998.
Aubertine's career in government began in 1994, when he served as a member of the Cape Vincent Town Council. Since 1971, Aubertine has owned and operated the sixth-generation heritage Triple-A Farm in Cape Vincent, for which he purchased a plot of land while still in high school.
He has been a member of numerous cooperatives and organizations, including the Cape Vincent Milk Producers, Allied and Eastern, Agway, St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau, the New York State Farm Bureau, and the Dairy Herd Improvement Association.
Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, said, "I'm confident that together we will be able to help ensure that the Department of Agriculture and Markets works as a partner with our farm families to help revitalize the upstate economy. Commissioner Aubertine will be able to help me look out for the needs of our neighbors and friends across the state and in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Oswego counties."
Senator Tim M. Kennedy, Ranking Member of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, said, "With the nomination of Darrel Aubertine, farmers can trust that they have someone looking out for them at the head of the Department of Agriculture and Markets – someone who as a seventh-generation farmer uniquely understands the agriculture community. Steering New York along the road to recovery will not be an easy task, but with Commissioner Aubertine's tested and proven abilities, we will develop and enact the right policies to rebuild our state's economy by creating jobs."
Dean Norton, President of the New York Farm Bureau, said, "NYFB welcomes Darrel Aubertine as the new Commissioner at the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Farmers and our organization have had a great relationship with him through the years, and look forward to his leadership at a critical time in the food and agriculture sector in New York. NYFB is pleased to see his enthusiasm for the opportunities in agriculture today and looks forward to working with the Commissioner and Governor Cuomo in the years to come."
David J. Skorton, President of Cornell University, said, "During his long career in public service, Darrel Aubertine has proven that he understands the needs of our state's agriculture industry, is more than willing to work across the political aisle, and is a strong advocate of the role higher education plays in helping New York build a brighter future. I look forward to working with Commissioner Aubertine as we face the challenges and the opportunities ahead."