Nicole Waters


Lead, Equitable Farm Futures Initiative


My role as manager of the Equitable Farm Futures Initiative offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the program's combined success through strong project management skills coupled with an empathetic approach to leadership. Throughout the previous 4.5yrs I have reliably connected SFP staff through an operations lens, while holding a deep understanding and respect for the established team culture of inclusivity and dedication to agricultural entrepreneurs. The importance of our shared values and common humanity cannot be overstated. I hold the belief that our team’s success is deeply rooted in this collaborative, kind hearted, and hard-working culture.

The Equitable Farm Futures Initiative embraces change and brings farmers together around a common goal centered in equity with the long-term vision of diversifying NYS farm operation and ownership. As part of this work, I aim to promote farm business growth and efficiency through the development of skilled and professional agriculturalists. Leadership, communication, and managerial skills are the building blocks for career advancement. Ultimately, I hope to create programs and pathways that lead to successful and rewarding agricultural careers.

Raised locally in Freeville, NY, I returned to the Ithaca area in 2014 with a diverse background of experiences. Post-graduation from SUNY Albany, I gained certification to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in Sevilla, Spain. Upon returning to the U.S., I taught English lessons to Spanish-speaking dairy employees in Dryden, NY. During this time, I took a part-time position at a local winery.

The part-time position at the winery led me to a degree in enology and a six-year career as an assistant winemaker in the Finger Lakes region. Over the past six years, I have managed grant-funded projects and coordinated a busy admissions process for international students seeking graduate degrees in U.S. law.

I spend my free time with son, who shares a passion for canoeing, camping, and hiking NYS forests.  You can also find us searching for new swimming spots in the summer, or practicing our downhill skiing in the winter.