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Longtime Agriculture Supporter, Bill Magee, Receives Top FFA Honor

MORRISVILLE, NY — One of the most ardent supporters of the agriculture and farming industries was recognized today with a lifetime of achievement award for his service and dedication.

Assemblyman William Magee, D-Nelson, was presented with a National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Honorary American Degree during a ceremony at Morrisville State College in the Little Theater of the John W. Stewart Center for Student Activities (STUAC).

The award, the highest award FFA can give to a non-member, was presented by National FFA President, Paul Moya. FFA’s state officers also attended the event along with local FFA students, Morrisville State College students, faculty and staff, representatives from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Cornell University.

“It’s a great honor to have National FFA President Paul Moya here to present this award to Assemblyman Magee,” New York State FFA President Kenny Quick said. “I know Paul was really impressed with our FFA chapters and members. Thanks to people like Assemblyman Magee, our FFA and agricultural education programs get the State financial support they need and we appreciate all his efforts on our behalf.”

“Bill has been a tireless advocate for agriculture and someone with whom it is an honor to work,” Ray Cross, Morrisville State College president, said. “He has been responsible for so many construction projects at the college and is truly committed to helping farmers, growers and, to helping New York.”

“Assemblyman Magee’s leadership has set the trend over the last decade for FFA and agriculture educators,” Keith Schiebel, advisor of the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill FFA Chapter who nominated Magee for the award, said. “Today’s celebration and recognition, with National FFA’s Honorary American Degree, is a small testament to the achievements won, for agriculture and our agricultural youth, by Assemblyman Magee.”

A plaque Magee received with the award bears significant testimony to the many lives he has enriched through his years of dedication to FFA and the agriculture industry.

“In times of crisis and times of prosperity, Assemblyman Magee has always kept agriculture in the forefront of our state’s policymakers, Schiebel, who has worked with Magee more than 25 years, said.
“His dedication and determination to assure and secure New York’s future as leaders in the food and fiber industry is exemplary.

"Few people have done so much for New York agriculture as Bill Magee, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said. “Yet for all he does for FFA, the New York Apple Growers Association, New York Maple Producers Association, Morrisville College and farmers across the state, he seldom gets the recognition he deserves. Today's presentation recognizes his hard work on our behalf and his lifelong dedication to public service.”

Magee has served the 111th district in the New York State Assembly since 1990. During that time, he has been a staunch supporter of revitalizing New York State's economic condition. He has supported numerous proposals to reduce state taxes, energy costs and bureaucracy. Locally, he has been instrumental in assisting many businesses with their expansion projects bringing new job opportunities to Madison, Oneida and Otsego counties.

Among his notable achievements was leading the rally for the passage of the Farmland Viability Act which provides financial and technical assistance to farmers seeking to improve their production techniques or better market their products; and he has remained committed to lowering taxes and fees for struggling farmers.

A lifelong resident of the Town of Nelson, Magee’s devotion is also visible in so many other ways.

On the sidelines, he champions students, participating in scholarship presentations, cheering at sporting events and enthusiastically partaking in local events with the community.

“He wandered through the FFA building at the State Fair this year noting (FFA) student projects and his support and presence have always been outstanding,” Schiebel said.

State Fair Director Dan O'Hara said, “Assemblyman Magee is a tremendous advocate for the State Fair. We are very fortunate to have both him and Senator Dave Valesky working with us to put back agriculture as the central focus of the Fair. Certainly that work includes 4-H and FFA members who are not only the future farmers, but also the future leaders of New York state.”

Cross also noted Magee’s dedication and efforts toward Morrisville State College, sponsoring and supporting legislation which led to a grant to build an agriculture incubator on campus and part of a $1 million HUD grant to expand distance learning technology in addition to securing funding for the college’s future Equine Rehabilitation Center.

An active member of the community, Magee serves on the Board of Directors of both Community Memorial Hospital and Crouse Community Center and is a member of the Cazenovia Civic Club and the Hamilton Lions Club. He served as chairman of both the Legislative Commission on Dairy Industry Development and the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

Additionally, Magee served on the Morrisville College Council for 20 years and was employed at the New York State Fair from 1985-1990 in various positions including manager of agriculture and livestock, equestrian events manager and coordinator of special projects.

“Receiving this is a great honor,” Magee said. “The FFA has a very positive impact on agriculture in the state.”
Magee earned a bachelor degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University. He has been an auctioneer and small businessman in Madison County for more than 35 years.

Morrisville State College offers more than 80 bachelor and associate degrees and options including a new bachelor degree in business administration, a bachelor of technology degree in criminal justice and an associate degree in renewable energy technology.

Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.

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Among Magee’s noteworthy achievements with VVS FFA:

-- Securing funding for state's Agriculture Education Outreach Program
-- Fighting to restore funding when monies were cut from the Governor's budget
-- Sponsoring member items money in support of Agricultural Education and FFA
-- Securing funding for agriculture equipment for FFA programs in his legislative area
-- Serving on the NYS Agricultural Education Advisory Board and Council
-- Routinely sponsoring legislative affairs highlighting youth and the FFA
-- Inviting FFA groups to tour the state capitol
-- Hosting legislative breakfasts for the state Assembly featuring maple syrup produced by the local FFA