Welcome from USDA Rural Development State Director Stanley 'Lee' Telega

Photo of New York State Director Lee Telega

Welcome to the USDA Rural Development web site for New York. The economic and community development arm of the USDA, Rural Development's mission is to improve economic conditions and the quality of life in rural communities. To achieve this mission, Rural Development administers community, business and housing programs which offer loans, loan guarantees and grants. Within this site, you will find detailed program specifics, eligibility guidelines and contact information for our state and local offices.

We are committed to the future of New York's rural communities.


Stanley 'Lee' Telega serves as the State Director for USDA Rural Development in New York State. He was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama in June of 2013. With more than 35 years of experience in agriculture, Lee seeks to identify and connect eligible rural communities, businesses and individuals to available Rural Development resources to improve the economic vitality and quality of life in rural regions throughout the state.

With a diverse educational and professional background, Lee has dedicated his career to working with farm businesses to help them better define and achieve success. In the halls of government, he has applied his practical experience and vast network to field and advance the vital dialogue that is needed to shape effective agricultural and rural policy. And as the Senior Extension Associate at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, he fostered cooperation among farmers, residents and local leaders to implement best practices, create sustainable regions, explore innovative markets and ultimately generate prosperity for New York communities.

Lee has considerable experience developing and delivering educational experiences for dairy producers, agribusiness professionals and policy makers. His efforts have focused on farm-environmental management and related policy topics. He acquired expertise in this area over many years of helping the farming and rural communities adapt to more rigorous standards of environmental performance. In the early 1990, Lee served as a technical advisor for the Ad Hoc Task Force on Agriculture and New York City Watershed Regulations. The resulting NYC Watershed Agricultural Program continues to protect the drinking supply of 9 million people and remains a watershed model of successful urban/rural collaboration. He was also instrumental in the development of state certification for farm-environmental planners, the professional support required for the environmental permits of medium and large dairy and livestock farms in the state.

Lee grew up around the steel and coal industries of southwest Pennsylvania. He holds a B. S. in animal science from The Pennsylvania State University and a M. S. in dairy cattle nutrition from the University of Tennessee. After graduate school, Lee dairy farmed in West Virginia and managed the University of Missouri research/teaching dairy operation prior to moving to New York.