Senator Ritchie Names Agriculture Advisory Group

State Senator Patty Ritchie has named 11 leaders in the agribusiness field from across Central and Northern New York to her newly formed Agricultural Advisory Council.

“As the chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, I believe it’s critical to harness our family farms as part of New York State’s overall economic development program to create new jobs and expand businesses,” Senator Ritchie said.

“My advisory panel will help the Senate Agriculture Committee identify issues by bringing some of our region’s best and brightest leaders from a variety of agricultural backgrounds together to offer their insight and real world experience.”

“I am hoping that people who own large, as well as small farms, and those who work full and part-time in the agribusiness industry will offer their suggestions to the members of my advisory council,” Senator Ritchie said.

“By capitalizing on the use of our abundant natural resources—sun, rain and open space—Central and Northern New York can produce the raw materials to help the Empire State reawaken its manufacturing base and produce the kind of high paying jobs we need.”

“Our cheese, yogurt, ice cream, wineries, meat packing and other food processing plants have traditionally played a vital role in creating industrial jobs,” Senator Ritchie said. “And we can grow our manufacturing base by focusing more attention on family farms.”

Members of Senator Ritchie’s Agriculture Advisory Council include:

Mark Akins – St. Lawrence County Legislator, dairy farmer
Eric Behling – New York Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Oswego, apple grower
Faye Beckwith – Oswego, Christmas tree grower
Jon Greenwood – St. Lawrence Farm Bureau President, dairy farmer
Allan and Mary Kelly – St. Lawrence County, dairy farmers
Jay Matteson – Jefferson County Agricultural Coordinator
Keith Pierce – St. Lawrence County, dairy farmer
Phil Randazzo, Alexandria Bay, owner, Coyote Moon Winery
Ron Robbins – Jefferson County, dairy farmer
Nancy Weber – Oswego County Farm Bureau President, dairy farmer
Terry Wilbur – Oswego County Legislator, vegetable and hay farmer
As one of the state’s leaders in agriculture, Senator Ritchie recently began a series of regional agricultural forums to give New Yorkers from across the state an opportunity to offer their suggestions as she develops her agenda for the upcoming legislative session.

The first forum was held in Jefferson County. The next session will be held Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. in Geneseo, and Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. in Riverhead.


  1. I’m really happy to see Senator Ritchie taking the reins and trying to improve the job situation in Jefferson County by convening this advisory team. I hope they’ll offer practical solutions such as improve the business climate in our state; keep us looking at ways to be competitive with other states and countries for that matter; improve the labor situation for both farms and manufacturing plants. I find it interesting that she talked about processing plants but doesn’t have anyone on her committee from that segment of the industry.

  2. The NYS Agricultural Mediation Program would like to express our appreciation of Senator Ritchie’s efforts, and our support for the advisory committee members. NYSAMP collaborates with our community mediation center partners across the state to offer free or low cost dispute resolution services to producers and their creditors. In 2010 85% of agricultural mediations resulted in agreements, and cases were resolved in an average of less than 16 days from first contact with the parties.

    Local mediators in each county provide quick and effective process to help all rural residents solve a wide variety of problems, including debt and loans, neighbor complaints, landlord/tenant issues, workplace problems, custody and visitation, and divorce.

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