SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) board has confirmed three new board members and a new SUNY liaison to the board. Aaron Allen with Allenwaite Farms will represent the dairy industry, and John Martini of Anthony Road Wine will serve as an at-large member. Matt Eckhardt will represent the NY Corn and Soybean Growers Association. The current officers will all continue to serve another term.
Allen has been serving on the NYFVI dairy review panel since 2018. “I thought it was a good time to step up at NYFVI,” he said. “I’ve found the review process for the proposals to be very informative. With so many new technologies being developed, it is critical that farmers participate in the dialogue and ground truth these ideas.”
“The Anthony Road Wine Company has a long history of supporting agricultural research. I’m delighted to continue that tradition by serving on the NYFVI board,” said John Martini, Anthony Road Wine.
Eckhardt continues a family tradition of NYFVI leadership. His father, Larry Eckhardt, was one of the organization’s founders and served for many years as the representative for the NY Vegetable Growers Association.
Rob Noble, Noblehurst Farms, and Mike Jordan, Olde Chautauqua Farms, have stepped down after reaching their term limits. As part of their tenure with the organization, both Noble and Jordan served as the organization’s chair and vice chair. Their service is a powerful example of the New York agricultural community’s strong volunteer ethos. Their insights and leadership were exemplary. Both individuals will continue to evaluate proposals as part of the farmer review process.
NYFVI also welcomed Anthony “Tony” Contento as the SUNY liaison to the board. Dr. Contento joined SUNY Morrisville in 2021 and is the dean of the School of Agriculture, Business & Technology. Early in his career, Contento served as a visiting assistant professor and interim director of agricultural research and testing at SUNY Oswego and Port of Oswego. During his tenure at SUNY Oswego he pioneered a Grain Analysis Lab which provided students with hands-on training in agricultural grain quality and contamination testing. He volunteered to serve on the NYFVI Board to build a stronger connection between higher education and NYS Agriculture.
NYFVI’s volunteer board includes seven farmers nominated from the State’s leading agricultural organizations and three at-large members identified by the current board to reflect the diversity of NY agriculture. Board members’ responsibilities include chairing the farmer review panel throughout the grant making process.
The 2023 NYFVI board members are:
Dave Ryan, NYFVI chair, serving for the NYS Nursery and Landscape Association
Tim Dressel, NYFVI vice chair, at-large member, specialty crops
Mary Jeanne Packer, NYFVI secretary/treasurer, serving for the Empire State Council of Agricultural Organizations
Aaron Allen, NYFVI dairy committee
Pauline Drexler, at-large member, livestock and agritourism
Chris Kelder, serving for the NY Farm Bureau
Jill MacKenzie, serving for the NYS Horticulture Society
John Martini, at-large member, grape and wine
Brian Reeves, serving for the NYS Vegetable Growers Association
Matt Eckhardt, serving for the NY Corn and Soybean Growers.
The New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) is a farmer-led nonprofit organization that runs a competitive grant program for applied research and education. The program seeks to fund work that will create and share knowledge to improve the economic viability of NY farmers and strengthen the food system. Its funding comes primarily from New York State. To learn more about its work, visit www.nyfvi.org.
–New York Farm Viability Institute