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Aubertine launching his first State Senate campaign in Watertown in 2008. Photo: David Sommerstein
Aubertine launching his first State Senate campaign in Watertown in 2008. Photo: David Sommerstein

Aubertine steps down as NY's farmer-in-chief

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Long time North Country politician and lifelong farmer Darrel Aubertine is stepping down from New York's top agriculture post. As David Sommerstein reports, Aubertine's leadership coincided with a higher profile for New York farmers.

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

Democrat Darrel Aubertine has presided over the Department of Agriculture and Markets at a time when farming has been a bigger part of the American consciousness than it has in many decades.

Farm-to-table. Buy local. Urban farming. Healthy eating.

And whether it’s been the impetus of Aubertine or Governor Cuomo, New York agriculture has grown substantially with the attention. The Cuomo Administration has created incentives for Greek yogurt producers and the dairy farms they rely on, wineries, micro-breweries and –distilleries, even hops producers to make the beer from local ingredients. The state is opening a chain of Taste NY stores selling only food and drink produced in New York.

Aubertine was a dairy farmer from Cape Vincent when he joined the Jefferson County legislature in 1996. He climbed the ladder to Assemblyman and then State Senator before being tapped by Cuomo for Ag commissioner in 2011.

Aubertine told the Watertown Daily Times he has three new job opportunities to choose from, one in the public sector. And he denied a report in the New York Post last month that he felt “cut off” from the Governor’s inner circle.

Aubertine officially steps down tomorrow. A spokesman says there’s no timeline yet for Governor Cuomo to name his successor.

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