Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

August 12, 2009

Commissioner Announces State Eco-Friendly Farming Award

Trinder Farm of Fabius Wins State’s Agricultural Environmental Management Award

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today recognized Tom and Elaine Trinder of Fabius as the recipients of the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Award.  The Trinders, sponsored by the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District, were honored during the Agricultural Leadership Luncheon ceremonies today at Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls.

“The Trinder Farm is an excellent model of employing environmental and resource innovations to build an excellent family farm,” the Commissioner said.  Their commitment to the land and to adopting new practices to both protect and improve their soils is exemplary.  I am pleased to honor the Trinders, as well as the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District with the 16th annual AEM award.”

The Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Award is presented annually to a farm family that practices sound agricultural stewardship by incorporating the AEM program into the operation of their farm business. The county Soil and Water Conservation District is also recognized for their important role in providing necessary technical assistance and resources.

The Trinder family farm transitioned from a conventional dairy and row crop farm purchased in 1978 into a pasture and hay farm.  In 2002, they began pasture grazing and in 2006 they converted every acre of corn into pasture and hay for their 200-plus cows and young stock. “Now, every acre is protected from erosion,” said Tom Trinder. All of Trinder’s 400 acres at the headwaters of the Upper Tioughnioga River are protected from soil erosion with grass waterways, water and sediment control basins and buffer zones.  Trinders were also one of the first farms in the region to practice strip cropping and zone tillage to help reduce erosion.

Hay yields have also improved under the farm’s nutrient management plan, and the Trinders now find earthworms, a sign of good soil health, everywhere on the farm. 

The grazing program, teamed with newspaper freestall bedding, resulted in clean cows and 14 straight years of Dairylea Cooperative “Gold” awards for superior milk quality. The Trinders credit herdsperson Nancy Wood for the farm’s rolling herd average of close to 19,000 pounds per cow, with no extra purchased protein, as well as enabling the farm to become a certified organic dairy.

Three other New York farms were recognized by the Commissioner as finalists for this year’s award.  They include:

  • Birch Creek Farm, owned by Durwood and Lois Bast and family in Woodville, were nominated by Jefferson County Soil & Water Conservation District.
  • Marlindale Farm, owned by Marlin Sr. and Patty Houston and family in Groton, were nominated by Tompkin County Soil & Water Conservation District.
  • Sunny Knoll Farms, owned by Donald and Joann Butler and family in Perry, were nominated by Wyoming County Soil & Water Conservation District.

With over 12,000 farms participating, New York’s AEM program serves as a national model of how a voluntary, incentive-based approach can successfully protect the State's natural resources, while meeting the economic needs of our diverse agricultural community. The AEM partnership of local, state and federal agencies, environmental groups, businesses and farmers, provides the technical, educational and financial assistance to develop and implement sound farm conservation plans.

The 16th Annual Agricultural Environmental Management Award is jointly sponsored by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, American Agriculturist Magazine and the Empire State Potato Growers.


2009 Press Releases