The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Board Member:
Dennis Doyle has been a guiding Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) Board Member since January of 2010. As the Ulster County Director of Planning since 2004, Doyle has brought a world of experience to the board as well as institutional knowhow and connections that have been integral to HVADC programmatic success in Ulster County and throughout the Hudson Valley.
With nearly 40 years in the planning field, Doyle sees the big picture when he looks at the Hudson Valley’s agricultural community. He stresses that HVADC’s mission isn’t just to help farmers succeed in business but to strengthen the health and security of the entire regional food system. Farming isn’t just about growing food, it’s about feeding people, he says.
“Food system health and access to food is incredibly important,” said Doyle. “Everyone’s entitled to safe healthy food sources. On the board we are all on the same page that at HVADC it’s not just about the farms but also the people we serve.”
Doyle was the Ulster County Director of Planning when HVADC was conceived. His office naturally interacted with the agricultural community quite a bit, he said, and he began to see more and more the impact HVADC was having in the county in those early years. He says he saw joining the board as a call to service.
“Giving back to the community is something I try to instill in the planning department,” said Doyle. “It’s important to serve.”
Doyle also serves as Director of the Ulster County Transportation Council. He has assisted municipalities, developers, and neighborhoods on issues concerning community and economic development as well as natural resource preservation. Doyle regularly provides training and technical assistance to municipalities and others in areas that include comprehensive planning, project reviews, transportation systems, and resource protection. He is also on the board of the Ulster County Development Corporation, Rural Ulster Preservation Company, the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Ulster County.
Doyle say he appreciates how HVADC is small but productive, facilitating meaningful programs but also having major impact on state and national policy, like HVADC’s leadership in the Agricultural Viability Alliance’s push for the USDA to allocate $300 million in stimulus funds toward Business Technical Assistance programs.
“That’s where the Executive Director (Todd Erling) earns his stripes,” Doyle said. “Todd has become a respected voice when talking to elected officials. I used to kid the staff that this is the little agency that could. It’s proven itself.”
Doyle says moving forward post-COVID, the HVADC board and staff will be focused on the persistent issues like how to help farms transition from older generations to new younger farmers, but also the new, nonstandard issue of what the face of farming will look like in that future. He says increasing diversity in farm entrepreneurship and ownership, as well as the complex issues surrounding farm labor and equity are some of the things the board is thinking a lot about.
The impact of climate change on regional agriculture is also something Doyle has been working on with HVADC and as a board member of CCE Ulster County. The county is funding CCE research into the already-present impact of climate change on local farms. Shifting seasonal weather patterns are impacting farms in ways people might not think, like new mold and pest issues.
Doyle says the HVADC Board of Directors is able to have important in-depth discussions about these monumental issues thanks to a diversity of professional backgrounds.
“What Denis Doyle brings to our board is more than experience and institutional knowledge, which he has in spades,” said Erling. “He also brings thoughtfulness and compassion. When addressing some of the biggest issues that we face, his focus is always on how new systems and programs will best serve people. His ability to see the macro and the micro, the forest and the trees, is a special trait and a gift to the HVADC board.”
For more information on the HVADC Board of Directors visit https://www/hvadc.org/our-team