Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Geoff Palmer, 518-457-3136

August 08, 2012

Sixth Generation Family Farm in Cayuga County Wins Statewide Award for Environmentally Sound Farming Practices

Patterson Farms in Auburn Demonstrates that Good Stewardship of the Land Can Help Cut Costs and Improve Efficiency

The Patterson family of Auburn, New York is the recipient of this year’s New York State Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Award, state Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine announced today.  The Pattersons, along with the Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District, were honored by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Empire State Potato Growers and American Agriculturist Magazine during the Agricultural Leadership Luncheon at Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls.

“I congratulate the Patterson family on this tremendous achievement,” said Commissioner Aubertine.  “Since 1832, the Patterson farm has been a mainstay in Cayuga County.  From generation to generation, their family has grown and their farm has persevered.  Today, it is a thriving dairy and beef farm using cutting edge technology to increase profits and protect the environment.” 

Patterson Farms milks approximately 1,000 cows and utilizes 2,700 acres of land to grow corn, alfalfa, grass, hay, wheat and willow biomass.  They use reduced soil plowing practices and cover crops to limit the loss of nutrients and soils entering nearby waterways such as Cayuga Lake.

With the help of state and federal funding, Patterson Farms has invested in a state-of-the-art manure irrigation system that allows for more efficient application of nutrients.  As constructed, this 3.5 mile piped distribution system reduces impacts on local traffic and over a period of years provides considerable savings to the farm.  In 1998, Patterson Farms installed a 1,250 foot grassed waterway, 1050 feet of terraces, and 3,250 feet of underground outlets.  These practices are designed to prevent eroding soils from making their way to Cayuga Lake.   In an effort to keep clean rain water from gathering nutrients, additional practices consisting of two blind inlets, 200 feet of underground outlets, and 500 feet of drip line were installed around farm buildings that house livestock.  In 1999, they constructed a manure separation and composting system to address concerns from manure pathogens.

The Patterson family is eager to share their successes and challenges with other farmers from different states and countries, giving tours of their farm and speaking at conferences across the state.  

Governor Cuomo recently announced $10.6 million in grants to help 159 farms in 27 counties protect New York's lakes, streams and rivers from agricultural runoff.  Cayuga County’s Soil and Water Conservation District received $601,481 under this grant program. 

Four other New York farms and Conservation Districts were recognized for their contributions through Honorable Mention, including:

  • Sheland Farms of Ellisburg, sponsored by the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District.
  • Sep’s Farm in Riverhead, sponsored by the Suffolk County Soil and Water District. 
  • WindyDale Farm in Acoca, sponsored by the Steuben County Soil and Water District.
  • Maxwell Farms in Geneseo, sponsored by the Livingston County Soil and Water District.

New York’s AEM program is a model for the entire nation.  Its incentive-based approach protects natural resources and meets economic needs in the field of agriculture. 

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2012 Press Releases