SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Spa City will be host to the week-long annual National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Conference for the first time ever starting Monday.
In 2021, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball was selected as the president of the national agriculture association for 2021-2022, enabling him to host the conference in his home state, according to Hanna Birkhead, the associate director of public information for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
“NASDA selected Saratoga Springs as the location for this year’s meeting due to its proximity to a diverse array of agricultural operations in New York State, as well as to New York’s capital city,” Birkhead said.
Birkhead said there are nearly seven million acres of farmland in New York that are home to nearly 33,500 family farms. The state ranks among the top 10 in production of 30 commodities, Birkhead said.
Some of those include:
- Ranking first for for production of cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt
- Second for apples, maple syrup, cabbage and snap beans
- Third in grapes
- Fourth in floriculture
- Fifth in milk production, green peas and squash
Director of Communications for the New York State Farm Bureau Steve Ammerman said having the conference in Saratoga County provides an opportunity for officials to see not only the “diversity of agriculture” in Saratoga County but across the state.
“Our farms’ passion and forward-thinking practices will serve as great examples of what is possible as the conference goers discuss many pressing issues that farms are facing in every state,” Ammerman said.
The theme of this year’s conference is Still Growing. Discussions at this year’s event will focus on topics such as the 2021 Farm Bill, international trade and the workforce.
Ammerman said that New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher will be a speaker at the conference and part of discussions regarding issues facing farmers.
The event will have more than 300 people in attendance, including state department heads of agriculture, stakeholders and farming advocacy organizations.
“We have so much to be proud of here in New York and I can’t wait to share our story, in person, with our partners from around the country,” Ball said.