May 25 06:57 PM
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Two Delaware County Farmers Join Watershed Agricultural Council Directors

02/10/2012 - At its first meeting of 2012, the Watershed Agricultural Council welcomed two Delaware County farmers to its Council of Directors. Gwen Deysenroth, of Bye Brook Farm (Bloomville), and Wayland "Bud" Gladstone, of SW Farms (Andes), joined the Council's 16-member board which oversees governance, fund development and policy creation. Each will serve a two-year term through Dec. 31, 2013.

"We are very pleased to have Gwen and Bud join the Council this year enabling them to lend their expertise to the challenges that lay ahead," noted Fred Huneke, Chairman of the Council of Directors. "Their involvement with the Council since the early 90s is a testament to the programs' successes. Both have been participants of the Watershed Agricultural Program since its inception. And, we're proud that both are still operating watershed farms, keeping working landscapes as the centerpiece of our region. Gwen and Bud were part of the 10 original pilot farms that lead the way for the voluntary, fully funded, locally controlled programs that later became the Watershed Agricultural Council in 1993. We look forward to their input and fresh perspective on the Council as program participants, business owners and watershed residents."

The Council of Directors is comprised of 15 program participants and a Department of Environmental Protection representative. Other board members include: Dave Cammer, Chris DiBenedetto, Tom Donnelly, Joe Eisele, Sally Fairbairn, Richard Giles, Darby Hartwell, Tom Hutson, Steve Reed, John Riedl, Ken Smith, John Verhoeven and DEP liaison John Schwartz. "Over the years, the Council has enlisted the passion of qualified participants to its board," noted Executive Director Craig Cashman. "The current team of Council Directors is poised to address the next phase of our growth and provide new direction as we work our way through a new strategic plan and economic development survey. I look forward to working with Gwen and Bud in the coming year, garnering new energy and focus by bringing fresh voices to the table."

Board members also share their expertise through 12 committees. "Gwen brings her experience in value-added dairy products such as raw milk Gouda to the Farm to Market Committee which meets bi-monthly in Walton," added Fred. "Bud's lifelong experience running a small business and farm operation will come in handy on the Audit Committee that provides fiscal oversight, meets quarterly in Hamden, and reviews a third-party audit process conducted each July." To keep close to the pulse of the communities and landowners that it serves, the Council's program committees also enlist farm and forest business owner/operators and other local experts to round out their viewpoints.

The Watershed Agricultural Council assists private landowners to improve their farm and forest lands in order to protect clean drinking water for nine million New York City residents. The Council works with nearly 1,000 property owners in developing conservation plans and applying those practices in accordance with farm and forest management plans. The Council champions the working landscape model by holding over 20,000 acres in conservation easements. Landowners use a variety of best management practices, tools and approaches, such as conservation easements, to keep properties active within a working landscape.

Working with farmers, agri-business, forest landowners, forest industry professionals and others, the Council seeks to enhance both business profitability and environmental stewardship. The Council also supports strong, viable agriculture and forestry businesses through its "Buy Local" branding campaigns, Pure Catskills. The Council accomplishes its work in land conservation and water quality protection within the New York City watershed region by embracing partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, government agencies and community stakeholders to achieve its purpose.

Along with the oversight provided by the Board of Directors, the WAC partners with nonprofits, local agencies such as Cornell Cooperative Extensions and Soil & Water Conservation Districts and federal agencies like Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service to guide and implement its programs. The Council is funded by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, U.S.D.A., the U.S.F.S. and other federal and foundation sources. For more information, visit www.nycwatershed.org.

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