For Immediate Release - April 04, 2012

Governor Patrick thanks Commissioner Soares for his service, swears-in Gregory Watson as new Commissioner of Agriculture

Watson brings decades of experience and leadership in Massachusetts farming and agriculture

Photo of the swearing-in

BOSTON – Monday, April 02, 2012 – Governor Deval Patrick today swore in Gregory Watson as Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR). Watson is succeeding current DAR Commissioner Scott J. Soares who is leaving to serve as executive director of the Cranberry Marketing Committee.

“I want to thank Scott Soares for his 16 years of dedicated service to the Commonwealth, where he has not only benefited our farmers, but has enriched the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Governor Patrick. “I know that Greg Watson will lead the department into the future with his knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment to our diverse agriculture economy.”

Watson previously held this position from 1990 to 1993, when he served as the Commissioner of what was then called the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture. Watson has a long connection to Massachusetts farming, first serving in the Department's Bureau of Markets in 1978, later in the Secretariat of Economic Development on fostering agri-bio-technology and finally as Director of the New Alchemy Institute in Falmouth, an applied research farm with close links to the cranberry, vegetable and green industry.

Watson has served as Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Technology at the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs since 2007.

“As a member of my senior staff, Greg brought a level of passion, expertise and drive to our team. I have no doubt that he will bring the same qualities to his role as Agricultural Resources Commissioner, a position he served with distinction once before,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

“I’ve always been driven to find examples of sustainable development – projects that demonstrate that economic prosperity and environmental quality can be compatible,” said Watson. “A healthy Massachusetts agricultural sector provides numerous benefits to all communities throughout the Commonwealth in terms of fresh, nutritious food, jobs and economic development and the preservation  of some of our most beautiful and productive lands. I am thrilled and honored to be back at the department.”

“I am grateful to Governor Patrick and to the Massachusetts agriculture industry for the privilege to have served as commissioner,” said Commissioner Soares. “I couldn’t be more confident in the department's continued success in passing the baton to Greg who is not only a good friend to me but more importantly to our Commonwealth’s farming community. I wish him the best of luck and look forward to working with him through this transition.”  

Watson has also served as executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a resident-driven community planning organization in Roxbury. Prior to serving at DSNI, he had been director of educational programs for Second Nature and director of The Nature Conservancy's Eastern Regional Office.

Watson was appointed vice president for Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in 1999. It was in that capacity where he served as the first executive director of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust. He also directed the Trust’s Cape & Islands Offshore Wind Public Outreach Initiative and its efforts to launch the US Offshore Wind Collaborative (USOWC).

A volunteer member of President Obama’s 2008 Energy Transition Team, Watson currently serves on the boards of the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative, the Buckminster Fuller Institute and Ocean Arks International.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Watson currently resides in Falmouth and has two children, Brooke and Travis.

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