ALBANY – Darrel J. Aubertine, the former state senator and a lifelong Cape Vincent farmer, has been nominated by the Cuomo administration to head the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the governor’s office confirmed Thursday afternoon.
“I certainly am looking forward to working as part of the new administration, and working with agriculture in the state,” Mr. Aubertine said in a telephone interview. “I’m just elated to have this opportunity.”
The appointment to the top agriculture job in the executive branch is subject to Senate approval.
"Darrel's experience and expertise in agriculture is unparalleled," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a news release. "He fought for years on behalf of farmers in the state legislature and delivered real results.”
Mr. Aubertine 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, Mr. 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. Mr. Aubertine's career in government began in 1994, when he served as a member of the Cape Vincent Town Council.
Since 1971, Mr. 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. Mr. Aubertine 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.
"Darrel's experience and expertise in agriculture is unparalleled," Governor Cuomo said. "He fought for years on behalf of farmers in the state legislature and delivered real results. New York's agricultural community will thrive with Darrel at the helm of this critical department, and I thank him for his service."
Dean Norton, President of the New York Farm Bureau, said, "We are pleased that Governor Cuomo has selected an individual who has long-standing connections to agriculture and our farm families. Darrel Aubertine has strong roots in the agricultural community and has proven to be a staunch ally through the years. New York Farm Bureau's almost 30,000 members look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and Mr. Aubertine to serve and strengthen agriculture."
Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, said, "The North Country has enjoyed Darrel Aubertine's leadership for years on agriculture issues, and now the entire state will benefit from his knowledge and vision. Not only is he an experienced farmer, but he has a very strong command of the issues confronting New York's producers and the opportunities for bolstering agriculture as a key part of a stronger state economy. On top of that, his years in local government and then the State Legislature will help him to effectively turn his knowledge and vision into effective new policies and initiatives. Governor Cuomo has made an excellent choice for agriculture and economic development across our state."
David J. Skorton, President of Cornell University, said, "We congratulate the governor and Mr. Aubertine on this nomination. As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he has already demonstrated his commitment to the success of Upstate's largest industry. Under Darrel's leadership we look forward to continuing Cornell's partnership to support and enhance the food and agriculture industry in New York State."