4. State soil and water conservation committee. (1) There is established in the department of agriculture and markets, the state soil and water conservation committee as an agency of this state which committee shall exercise the functions conferred upon it in this chapter. The administrative functions of such department under the agriculture and markets law shall not operate or be applied in derogation of the powers of the committee, or of the free exercise thereof, as conferred by this chapter. The following shall serve as members of the committee: five interested and qualified citizens to be appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the state grange, one of whom shall be appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the state farm bureau federation, one of whom shall be appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the New York Soil Conservation Districts Association, Inc., one of whom shall be appointed at large, who shall represent the farm interest, and a fifth member appointed at large who shall represent the urban, suburban and rural non-farm landowner interest; the director of the state agricultural extension service, or his or her designated representative; the dean of the state college of agriculture and life sciences, or his or her designated representative; the president of the college of environmental science and forestry of the state university of New York, or his or her designated representative; the commissioner of environmental conservation, or his or her designated representative; the commissioner of agriculture and markets, or his or her designated representative; the commissioner of health, or his or her designated representative; the secretary of state, or his or her representative; a representative of the New York State Conservation District Employees' Association; and the state conservationist of the soil conservation service of the United States department of agriculture, or his designated representative. The five lay members shall be the voting members. The balance of the committee will serve in an advisory or consulting capacity. The committee shall keep a record of its official actions, and may perform such acts, and promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the execution of its functions under this chapter. After April twenty-third, nineteen hundred sixty-four, the first appointment of the member chosen from a list submitted by the New York soil and water conservation districts association shall be made of a successor to the member representing the state grange whose term first expires, and the first appointment of the member representing non-farm interests shall be made of a successor to the member representing the New York farm bureau whose term first expires.
(2) The committee may call upon the attorney-general of the state for such legal services as it may require. It shall have authority to delegate to its chairman, to one or more of its members, or to one or more agents or employees such powers and duties as it may deem proper. Upon request of the committee for the purpose of carrying out any of its functions, the supervising officer of any state agency, or of any state institution of learning shall, insofar as may be possible under available appropriations, and having due regard to the needs of the agency to which the request is directed, assign or detail to the committee members of the staff or personnel of such agency or institution of learning, and make such special reports, surveys or studies as the committee may request.
(3) The committee shall designate its chairman and may from time to time change such designation. The lay members shall be appointed for a period of five years, except that the first five appointed shall be designated to serve terms of one, two, three, four and five years respectively, the terms of office to correspond to the state's fiscal year. Committee members shall hold office until their successors have been appointed and have qualified. The selection of successors to fill a vacancy shall be made in the same manner in which the retiring committee members shall have been selected. A majority of the committee shall constitute a quorum and the concurrence of a majority in any matter within their duties shall be required for its determination. The members shall not receive a salary or other compensation, but shall be entitled to their actual and necessary expenses, including traveling expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties. The committee shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record of all proceedings and of all resolutions, regulations, and orders issued or adopted; and shall provide for an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and disbursements.
(4) In addition to the duties and powers hereinafter conferred upon the state soil and water conservation committee, it shall have the following duties and powers:
a. To adopt such policies in the carrying out of district programs as it deems appropriate;
b. To keep the directors of each of the several districts organized under the provisions of this act informed of the activities and experience of all other districts organized hereunder, and to facilitate an interchange of advice and experience between such districts and cooperation between them;
c. To approve and coordinate the programs of the several soil and water conservation districts organized hereunder;
d. To secure the cooperation and assistance of the United States and any of its agencies, and of agencies of this state, in the work of such districts;
e. To disseminate information throughout the state concerning the activities and programs of the soil and water conservation districts organized hereunder, and to encourage the formation of such districts in areas where their organization is desirable;
f. To accept contributions from any source to carry on work under the provisions of this chapter;
g. To develop and maintain principles and standards for, and procedures for participating in, the agricultural environmental management (AEM) program in partnership with the department of environmental conservation, as set forth in article eleven-A of the agriculture and markets law;
h. To develop evaluation criteria, collect, maintain and analyze information to assess the AEM program for effectiveness in meeting state and federal environmental and public health goals;
i. To coordinate and approve the participation of the several districts in the AEM program as set forth in article eleven-A of the agriculture and markets law.
Last modified: February 3, 2019