Juan Micieli-Martinez has been elected president of the Long Island Farm Bureau. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez has been elected as the new president of the Long Island Farm Bureau.

Micieli-Martinez, a winemaker with Premium Wine Group and producer of his own wine brand, Montauk Daisy Wines, was elected president during the farm bureau’s annual meeting and dinner on Oct. 24. Micieli-Martinez said he has been involved with the Long Island Farm Bureau for around 10 years and has served in different capacities within the organization, most recently as a board member.

“It’s an honor to represent the agricultural community,” Micieli-Martinez said. “I’m very, very pleased, very happy about the nomination. I know it’s going to be a lot of work. There’s always a lot of issues facing agriculture.”

Micieli-Martinez, who has been in the wine industry for more than 20 years, was head winemaker and general manager at Martha Clara Vineyards from 2010 to 2018. He was also Democratic candidate for town council this past election and the cofounder of the recently created Heart of Riverhead Civic Association. He is also a member of the L.I. Wine Council, the East End Tourism Alliance and Riverhead Downtown Revitalization Committee.

The New York Farm Bureau is a coalition of members of the farming industry who advocate and lobby for farmers across New York State. The Long Island chapter is one of 11 across New York State and represents farmers in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“We are very fortunate to have had to have had a number of fantastic leaders over the years here at Long Island Farm Bureau,” Long Island Farm Bureau Administrative Director Rob Carpenter said. “All of the presidents that have served have just been tremendous advocates for the industry and I believe that Juan is going to carry that tradition without us losing a step.”

Carpenter said Micieli-Martinez is the first winemaker to be president of the Long Island Farm Bureau, as well as the first immigrant to carry the title in recent memory. Micieli-Martinez, who was raised on the East End, was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States when he was a kid.

Micieli-Martinez said one of his main goals as president is to grow the membership of the organization, especially when it comes to attracting the next generations of farms into agriculture.

“We’re gonna need to have these torches passed along and continue the work of [agriculture],” Micieli Martinez said. “It’s hard work, agriculture. It’s not Monday to Friday nine to five. But it’s something that is critical to all of us, to have fresh, locally grown food on the table.”

He said he also hopes to expand his chapter’s young farmers program, which helps educate younger and aspiring farmers about the industry to make them self-sufficient. He said he will also have to manage budget cuts to the organization.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: alek@riverheadlocal.com