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 partnerships between 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 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 the senior partner in Stein Farms LLC, a 750 cow, 2000 acre dairy farm. In partnership with him are his son Nathan and brother Ray. He resides on the farm with his wife Lilly. Dale is active in several agricultural groups and organizations, and he is past President of Genesee County Farm Bureau. He serves as Co-Chairman of the Agricultural Practices Board for the Town of LeRoy, is on the Genesee County Agricultural Protection Board, and presently is on the Board of Directors for the North East Dairy Producers Association. He is a member of the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District AEM Advisory Committee, and has served as a Director for the Genesee County Cooperative Extension. Active in environmental work all his life, Dale manages a 2,500 acre area for the improvement and diversification of wildlife. Dale has planted over 10,000 trees and built several types of feeding areas and nesting habitats for small birds and mammals. He owns a half-mile section of Oatka Creek, which is maintained as a public fishing area and stocked with 8,000 trout annually by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

John Dickinson of Washington County represents the New York Farm Bureau. John and his wife Denise own and operate Ideal Dairy Farms in Hudson Falls. John has been a member of the Washington County Farm Bureau since 1982, served on the Board of Directors since 1996 and was elected Vice-Chair in 2003. He has been the Farm Bureau Representative on the Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District Board and a member of the County Water Quality Coordinating Committee since 1999. Active in many civic and agricultural organizations, John is currently serving on the Cobleskill College Ag Business Advisory Committee, First Pioneer Farm Credit Board of Directors, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Technological Transfer Advisory Committee, and the Saratoga-Warren-Washington County Work Force Investment Board. He is a Trustee for the Kingsbury Baptist Church and a Dairy Farmers of America Delegate. Raised on a dairy farm, John went on to earn a degree in Animal Husbandry/Dairy from SUNY Cobleskill. As a Herd Manager after college, he successfully developed a genetics program utilizing Artificial Insemination and Raising Replacement. In 1981, John and Denise started their own dairy business with an 80 cow herd, which over the years has expanded to become a 2100 acre, 750 cow, operation recognized as a Dairy of Distinction.

David Brass of 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 been farming for over 19 years. They owned and operated a 134 acre Dairy Farm for four years before transitioning to a sheep and heifer farm in 1991. David has been on the Board of Directors for the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District since 2002. He worked with the District for over seven 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 including New York Association of Conservation Districts’ Annual Meetings and national conferences. 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. David has also been a New York Farm Bureau member since 1995.

Charles Colby of Monroe County represents the New York Association of Conservation Districts (NYACD). Charles has been an active member of NYACD and Chairman of the Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District since 2003. Charles has an extensive agricultural background and is President of Colby Homestead Farms, Inc., a dairy and crop farm in Spencerport. This seventh generation family farm has been in operation since 1802. Charles and his brother Robert are continuing their family’s long legacy of environmental stewardship to ensure their farm will be around for future generations. Working with the Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District, numerous conservation practices were installed on the farm to protect water quality and enhance natural resources. In 1992, they were awarded Monroe County “Farm of the Year.” Charles also served on the New York Farm Bureau Board of Directors for six years and was President of Monroe County Farm Bureau from 1986-88. He served on the Farm Family Insurance Corporation Board of Directors, the Monroe County Cornell Cooperative Extension Board of Directors and the County Water Quality Management Advisory Committee. He has been active with the Spencerport Kiwanis, the First Congregational Church of Spencerport, and is currently on the Lakeside Hospital Executive Committee. Charles resides on the farm with his wife Colette and two children.


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: P.J. Emerick, 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