Who We Are Pdf

The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee is composed of voting and advisory members who represent a wide range of agricultural, environmental and other interests. The broad range of interests represented on the Committee allows it to carry out its work through a network of partnershipsbetween state, federal and local agencies, as well as citizen interests and the private sector.

An act establishing the State Soil & Water Conservation Committee and Soil & Water Conservation Districts became law on April 23, 1940

Voting Members:

The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee was established as an agency of the State in 1940. It is made up of five voting members appointed by the Governor and representing agricultural and non-agricultural interests as provided for in New York State Soil & Water Conservation Law.
Current Voting Members are:

Advisory Members:

Nine persons advise the Committee by virtue of their positions as officials of state and federal agencies and organizations. These nine organizations are:


Dale Stein of LeRoy, Genesee County was elected Chairman of the State Committee in February 2015. Dale has served as a Voting Member of the State Committee as the Representative-At-Large for Farm Interests since 2006. He is senior partner in Stein farms LLC, a 1000 cow, 2500 acre dairy farm where he is in partnership with his brother Ray, son Nate, niece Tasha, and nephew Jerrod. He resides on the farm with his wife Lilly. Dale has served on many boards and committees including being past president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau, a member of the Northeast Dairy Producers Association Board of Directors, the Town Board of Leroy, and itís Agricultural Practices Board, Genesee County Ag Protection Committee, Genesee County Soil and Water AEM Advisory Committee and others. Dale's family owns a 1/2 mile section of the Oatka Creek that is open to public fishing. DEC stocks 8000 trout every spring at the head of Dale's property.

Dale states, "I believe we must protect, preserve and enhance the natural environment for the generations that follow us."

Darin Hickling of Edmeston, Otsego County, serves as the New York Farm Bureau representative to the State Committee. Darin is President of Hicklingís Fish Farm, Inc., a family owned and operated business that has been supplying fish for stocking and wholesale since 1986. The farm specializes in raising largemouth bass. Darin is Vice-President of the Otsego County Farm Bureau, currently represents his district on the NY Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is formerly the Vice Chairman of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District.

According to Darin, "SWCDs are the backbone of natural resource conservation in every county in NYS. It is important to represent all agricultural and natural resource programs on the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, for the betterment of land conservation while protecting water quality resources."

David Brass of Rodman, Jefferson County represents the New York State Grange. An active Grange member for over 40 years, David has served as Grange Master of Adams Center since 1999 and as Deputy State Master from 2004-07. He became the Special Deputy Statewide in 2007. David and his wife, Geraldine, have farmed for many years, having owned and operated a 134 acre dairy farm before transitioning to a sheep and heifer farm. David has been on the Board of Directors for the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District since 2002. He has worked with the District for many years installing numerous conservation practices on his farm to protect water quality and enhance natural resources. Over the years David has attended several agricultural and water quality related trainings and events. His extensive background in water quality includes holding a Class A License for bacteriological and chemical water testing for 14 years and serving as water treatment plant operator for the Village of Chaumont for over a decade.

Dave says, "Being a member of the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee allows me the opportunity to support the ongoing conservation efforts in New York State, which is important in terms of strengthening the efforts of SWCDs and partnering agencies, to protect our land and water for the future."

Ron Montesi of Queensbury, Warren County, was appointed to the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee in 2016 as the representative from the New York Association of Conservation Districts (NYACD). For more than 30 years, Ron was President of North Country Janitorial Service, a company he formed in 1972. Ron has served the public in many capacities including Special Assistant for Adirondack Affairs for the DEC, a member of the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District Board since 2007, Queensbury Town Supervisor, and a member of the NYACD Board. Ron continues to be involved in several community and civic groups in Warren County that contribute to resource conservation and ultimately, economic development for the county.

In regards to natural resource protection, Ron says, "I believe in the incredible ability of SWCDs to undertake a diverse workload in all areas of natural resource conservation, from protecting our pristine lakes and streams, to supporting start-up agricultural operations with AEM. My time spent working with the State Committee, is well worth the value in supporting their mission."

Erica Goodman of Brooklyn was appointed to the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee in 2016 as the Urban, Suburban and Rural Non-Farm interests on the State Committee. A native of Washington County currently residing in Brooklyn, Erica works at FoodCorps as the Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships. Erica has formerly worked for American Farmland Trust where she built an understanding of state and federal agricultural and conservation programs by supporting projects in farmland protection, water quality and agricultural viability. Erica was also previously the proprietor of Origin Hops at Goodmanor Farm, which was operated on land originally a part of her familyís dairy farm, located in Washington County. "As the urban, suburban and rural, nonfarm representative I am eager to work with Conservation Districts and the SWCC staff to find opportunities and develop networks to advance stormwater, green infrastructure and stream management programs statewide", states Erica.


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University
The College is the state's "land grant" institution for agricultural education. As such, it has an important role in national and international research, as well as educating future farmers and others involved in agriculture and the life sciences in New York.
Principal Member: Kathryn J. Boor, Dean
Representative: Elizabeth Claypool

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
The College is the state's flagship institution for the education of future environmental scientists and foresters. Research of national and international importance is conducted here, as well as continuing education programs for professionals already working the environmental field.
Principal Member: Quentin Wheeler, President
Representative: Robert Davis

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Cornell Cooperative Extension brings the most recent agricultural and conservation research from Cornell University and other land-grant institutions to those who need it: farmers, agribusiness and other community members through a statewide network of agents serving each county in the state. Cooperative Extension also coordinates outreach activities associated with the State Committee's Agricultural Environmental Management initiative, identifies research needs for Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and identifies training needs and develops training materials and programs.
Principal Member: Christopher Watkins, Director
Representative: Deborah Grantham, Assistant Director

New York State Conservation District Employees' Association, Inc.
This organization represents the staff of the 58 county Soil and Water Conservation Districts in New York on conservation issues at the State level. It works with other conservation partner agencies to provide training opportunities for field staff, and educates and informs pertinent parties about soil and water conservation funding needs.
Principal Member: Steve Lorraine, President
Representative: Jordan Clements

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
The Department provides staff, office space and administrative support for the NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee. It also administers state funds available for the Committee's Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program, chairs the Agricultural Environmental Management Steering Committee and administers state farmland protection programs.
Principal Member: Richard Ball, Commissioner
Representative: Jackie Moody-Czub

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
As the State's environmental agency, the DEC administers the permit program for point source discharges, including the discharge of agricultural pollutants to state waters, and sets and enforces the State's water quality standards. It also coordinates the administration of programs to address nonpoint source pollution in New York State, which rely on many agencies (including all of the advisory members to the State Committee) for implementation. DEC also coordinates the annual update of the Agricultural Management Practices Catalogue and chairs a workgroup that is determining the best way to address environmental issues associated with farms considered "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)" under the federal Clean Water Act. DEC also provides funding through the State Committee for staff, training and mini-grants for County Water Quality Coordinating Committees.
The DEC, through its Office of Natural Resources, also manages New York's other natural resources. Forest, plant and animal resources are managed and protected for sustainable use by citizens according to State policy. Fish and wildlife habitat is protected and enhanced under numerous legislative authorities.
Principal Member: Basil Seggos, Commissioner
Representative: Donald E. Tuxill, PE

New York State Department of Health (DOH)
The Department of Health is responsible for the protection of public drinking water supplies under state and federal law. It also delineates public water system wellhead and critical watershed protection areas. DOH is working closely with the State Committee to carry out assessments of public drinking water sources (the Source Water Assessment Program) in New York, as required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Principal Member: Howard A. Zucker, Commissioner
Representative: Pamela Young

New York State Department of State
Together with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of State has the lead responsibility for assuring that New York meets the requirements under the federal Coastal Zone Act reauthorization Amendments of 1990 to minimize pollution from agriculture and other nonpoint sources.
Principal Member: Cesar A. Perales, Secretary of State
Representative: Kenneth Smith

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
In cooperation with Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state, the NRCS provides technical assistance to private landowners through county Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the form of natural resource planning and technical standards for the implementation of practices to prevent soil erosion and nonpoint source water pollution. NRCS also administers federal funds to protect natural resources.
Principal Member: Gregory Kist, State Conservationist
Representative: Dennis DeWeese