A fifth-generation dairy farmer, Ashley E. Randle was sworn in as the twenty-first Commissioner by Governor Maura T.Healey on March 6, 2023. She is the first woman to lead the Department and assumed the role after having served as Deputy Commissioner/Legislative and Policy Director since October 2018.
Ashley’s passion for agriculture was cultivated early on, growing up and working alongside her parents and grandparents at Indian Acres Farm in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. As an avid young 4-H member, Ashley was actively involved in the Franklin County 4-H Dairy Program and continued the family farm’s legacy of participation in showing dairy cattle at the local, state, and national level. In 2007, Ashley exhibited the Supreme Champion of the Open and Junior divisions at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI with her homebred Guernsey cow, Indian Acres MM Pistachio Pie; She was the first individual to win both divisions in the history of the competition.
While attending college at Cornell University, Ashley developed a deep appreciation for agricultural policy and law. Serving as Public Policy intern with the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington D.C. first sparked Ashley’s interest in Farm Bill policy and a future career in state government. To further her background and understanding of the regulatory aspect of agriculture and farming, Ashley attended Western New England University School of Law. Internships at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources: Watershed Management Legal Division and Connecticut Attorney General’s Office: Department of Energy and Environmental Protection during law school provided a solid foundation and understanding of regional state policies and impacts. Ashley is a licensed Massachusetts attorney.
Prior to joining the department in 2018, Ashley served as Member Services Director for the Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Inc. (NEDPA) in New York and oversaw membership engagement as well as policy outreach and education in the areas of labor and human resources management, CAFO permitting and water quality, New York Dairy’s OSHA Local Emphasis Program, animal well-being, and other timely matters. Prior to that role, Ashley served as Marketing Specialist/Special Projects at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, where she researched, developed, and implemented a sustainable recognition program for the Maine farming community.
Ashley resides in Sterling with her husband, Nicholas, and remains actively involved in her family’s dairy farm. She is an enthusiastic long-distance runner.