Farmland Protection Working Group


The New York State Farmland Protection Working Group (FPWG) was created as a result of Chapter 55 of the Laws of 2021. The FPWG is a coordinated effort among the New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets and Environmental Conservation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting, and the New York State Department of Public Service.  These key state agencies are convening with appointed representatives from County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Boards, as well as local government officials from across New York.

The goal of the FPWG is to consider and recommend strategies to the State on the siting process of major renewable energy facilities and to minimize the impact of siting on productive agricultural soils on working farms. The group had its initial organizational meeting on December 8, 2021 and will meet at least three times to develop and deliver its recommendations before April of 2022. 


  • New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets: Richard Ball, Commissioner
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: Basil Seggos, Commissioner
    • Alternate: Katharine Petronis, Deputy Commissioner
  • New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting: Houtan Moaveni, Executive Director
  • New York State Department of Public Service: Rory M. Christian, Chair and CEO
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority: Doreen Harris, President and CEO
  • Representatives from County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Boards:
    • Matilda Larson, Planner - St. Lawrence County Planning Department
    • Cassie Fedler, AFPB Chair - Washington County Board of Supervisors
    • Patrice Perry, Director - Columbia County Planning Department
    • Mary Underhill, Planner -Livingston County Planning Board
    • Matt Sousa, Chair- Steuben County AFPB
  • Local government representatives:
    • Michael A. Casale, Commissioner - Niagara County Economic Development 
    • Felipe A. Oltramari, Director - Genesee County Department of Planning
    • August Ruckdeschel, Farmland & Open Space Coordinator- Suffolk County Division of Planning and Environment
    • Darren “Hal” McCabe , Mayor – Village of Homer (Cortland County)
    • Christopher Rosenquest, Mayor – City of Plattsburgh (Clinton County)
    • Melissa M. “Missy” Hartman, Supervisor - Town of Eden (Erie County)
    • Amber Corbin, Councilperson -Town of Rush (Monroe County)
  • Agriculture and Farm Interests:
    • Julian Mangano, Della Terra Farm – Castorland (Lewis County)
  • Advisors:
  • Ethan Winter, Northeast Solar Specialist, American Farmland Trust
  • Elizabeth Wolters, Deputy Director of Public Policy, New York Farm Bureau

  • Anne Reynolds, Executive Director, ACE NY

  • Jim Bittner, Owner / Operator, Bittner Singer Orchards (Niagara County)

No members of this board receive payment of expenses or other compensation in the performance of their duties as members.

Next Meeting

Information about the next meeting can be accessed here when it is made available. 


Past Meeting Materials

The most recent meeting of the FPWG was held on December 16, 2022. The meeting agenda and materials are posted below. Access a recording of the meeting.

Additionally, the meeting agenda and materials from the February 26, 2022 meeting are posted below. Access a recording of the meeting

For materials from these or other previous meetings, please contact us.

Related Materials