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Skaneateles’ Greenfield Farms honored

Greenfield Farms of Skaneateles has been selected for the 2022 New York AEM-Leopold Conservation Award, it was announced recently by state Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Greenfield Farms Honored

The distinguished award honors a farm for its extraordinary efforts to promote and protect the environment through the preservation of soil and water quality while ensuring farm viability for future generations.

Greenfield Farms is near Skaneateles Lake, which supplies drinking water for Syracuse and seven other New York municipalities. Jim, Tom, Bill, and TJ Greenfield utilize agricultural conservation practices to help their farm act as a 1,400-acre sponge, absorbing rain and snow melt and keeping topsoil in place. Jim Greenfield is one of the original leaders and farmer advocates of Syracuse’s Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat management on working land. The award is presented to landowners in 24 states. Since 2020, New York’s longstanding Agricultural Environmental Management Award has been offered in collaboration with the nationally recognized Leopold Conservation program.

Earlier this year, New York State Soil and Water Conservation Districts were encouraged to identify and nominate the best examples of conservation success in their district. Applications were reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders. Among the many outstanding landowners nominated for the award were three additional finalists: Echo Farm of Essex in Essex County, Humbert Farms of Clyde in Wayne County, and Lawnhurst Farms of Stanley in Ontario County. Last year’s recipient was Table Rock Farm of Castile in Wyoming County.

“I extend my congratulations to Jim, Tom, Bill, TJ, and the whole Greenfield family for their exemplary efforts to protect and steward their land,” Ball said. “Their innovative environmental practices, leadership, and dedication to giving back to their community are something to be admired and mirrored across New York State, and they are certainly most deserving of the esteemed AEM-Leopold Conservation Award.”

Added Seggos said, “Conservation and climate resiliency efforts at our local farms will help to protect the environment and preserve soil and water quality in New York State. Congratulations to Greenfield Farms for their well-deserved AEM-Leopold Conservation Award, which recognizes their leadership on preventing soil erosion, improving water quality, and using smart technology to grow and sustain their farm for future generations. Greenfield Farms serves as a great example of how New York’s agricultural community can help protect the environment and combat climate change.”

John Piotti, American Farmland Trust President and Chief Executive, said, “As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of the New York recipient. At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”

Sand County Foundation, a national nonprofit conservation organization, presents the $10,000 cash award through the support of American Farmland Trust, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Ida and Robert Gordon Family Foundation, Farm Credit East, Audubon New York, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the New York State Agribusiness Association.

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