Water conservation

‘A Great Example’: Skaneateles Farm Wins New York Environmental Conservation Award | Policy

Two state agency commissioners traveled to central New York on Thursday to present a Skaneateles farm with a prestigious award.

Greenfield Farms is the winner of the New York Agricultural Environmental Management-Leopold Conservation Award. According to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the award “honors a farm for its extraordinary efforts to promote and protect the environment by preserving soil and water quality while ensuring the viability of the firm for future generations”.

The 1,400-acre farm has been recognized for its soil erosion prevention efforts and the changes the Greenfield family has made over the years to be good stewards of the environment, such as planting cover crops and switching from their moldboard plow to no-till technology.

Jim Greenfield was one of the first farmers to participate in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program, an initiative that was an alternative to building an expensive water treatment plant. Skaneateles Lake supplies drinking water to the city of Syracuse and other municipalities in Onondaga County.

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Greenfields’ environmental conservation strategy has other elements, including 12 miles of grassed waterways and grass pads to prevent runoff along crop fields. The farm also has 20 water and sediment control ponds to move clean water underground and release it to an outlet. They also use smart technology to apply fertilizers and other products needed for crop growth.

Basil Seggos, the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s commissioner, was impressed with what he saw after touring the farm.

“Long before there was a potential award, they were pioneering some of these very sustainable practices on the farm,” he told the Citizen. “It’s not only good for the environment and the community, but also for their bottom line. I think that’s what became clear to me today is seeing the investments they’re making. have done to control stormwater on their landscape and how it protects their most precious resource, which is the soil.”

Richard Ball, who is the commissioner of the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets, said Greenfield Farms is “setting an excellent example” and “doing an excellent job of managing its farm in a fiscally responsible and respectful manner. of the environment”.

“It has real benefits for the farm and the whole community,” Ball added.

The Leopold Prize for Conservation is awarded in 24 states. It is named in honor of the famous environmentalist Aldo Leopold. In New York, state soil and water conservation districts are encouraged to nominate farms for this honor. The other three finalists for this year’s award included Humbert Farms in Wayne County and Lawnhurst Farms in Ontario County.

In addition to the prize, Greenfield Farms will receive a $10,000 prize.

Political journalist Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.