New York State has honored a Cortland County dairy farm for implementing conservation “best-management practices that benefit the environment and protect the community.”
The state recognized Whey Street Dairy, located in Cuyler, as the recipient of the 2019 State Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Award “for decades of dedication and community leadership in conservation,” per an Aug. 7 news release.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Empire State Potato Growers, and the magazine American Agriculturist presented the award at the annual Empire Farm Days event in Seneca Falls.
The Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District nominated the farm for the award and has provided assistance with conservation efforts at Whey Street Dairy.
“It is humbling to look at the long list of innovative farm families that have received this award during the past two decades, and we are honored to join the list,” Martin (Marty) Young, co-owner of Whey Street Dairy, said in the release. “We strive to implement the best practices that will lead to healthy soils, productive farms and clean water, and we thank the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District, which is instrumental in the implementation of conservation practices that have improved our farm. The challenge for us as individuals, agriculture, and society, is to continue to deepen our understanding of the science of crops, animals, and soils and to respond in thoughtful innovative ways to develop resilient solutions that help us provide affordable, healthy food for our people.”
The annual AEM Award is presented to winners chosen from nominees submitted by county soil and water conservation districts from around the state. The first Agricultural Environmental Management Award was presented in 2002. Prior to that, the award was known as the Agricultural Stewardship Award.
About Whey Street Dairy
Whey Street Dairy, owned by Martin and Mary Ann Young, sells milk to Kansas City, Kansas–based Dairy Farmers of America Inc., which delivers to Lynnfield, Massachusetts–based HP Hood LLC; Norwich–based Chobani, LLC; Luxembourg–based Fage; and Denver, Colorado–based Leprino Foods, where the milk is turned into yogurt and cheese.
The Young family has operated the fourth-generation farm for 60 years. Marty and Mary Ann have farmed for 39 years. They have been using conservation practices since the 1990s.
The Youngs have 680 dairy cows and were “early adopters” of soil-erosion control and riparian-buffer practices (a vegetated area near a stream that helps protect the waterway from the adjacent land use), the state said. They have implemented nutrient management and conservation-tillage practices, cover crops, diversions, roof-water control, and installation of both forest and riparian buffers, silage leachate control, water-retention measures, and petroleum-spill prevention.
These practices have improved soil health and nutrient efficiency, while reducing erosion and nutrient runoff on their 1,800-acre farm to protect land and water along the Tioughnioga River. The river is part of the Upper Susquehanna River watershed, which ultimately feeds into Chesapeake Bay, per the release.
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