Skaneateles' Greenfield Farms LLC is the Conservation Farm of the Year. This means it was honored for positive environmental practices including efforts to minimize soil erosion and integrating good pest management practices.
"We saw the writing on the wall in the 1980s," Jim Greenfield said of changes in longtime farm practices. Jim is the eldest of the three Greenfield brothers who now own the family farm between Skaneateles and Owasco Lakes.
The honor was awarded by the Onondaga County's Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) as the highlight of its 20th annual conservation tour, which wound up over a local foods luncheon at Beaver Lake Nature Center.
OCSWCD Executive Director Mark Burger's introduction noted his own work in the field on projects with the Greenfields for 11 years.
"I watched them 'park their plows' and then 'sell their plows' to commit to no-till conservation. This change in management philosophy has kept the soil on the land to protect the water quality of Skaneateles Lake," he said. "I also interacted with this farm on various buffer projects, and integrated pest management projects on their 1,300 acres of land. First hand I observed this farm take leadership roles in the agricultural community on such topics as, Pesticide Management training; being a catalyst to keep local farms participating in the scouting, reporting and environmentally safe management of crop pests; and the initiation of a 'Town Meeting' to help farmers get products to market while complying with local and state laws related to the Finger Lakes truck traffic issues."
Jim Greenfield accepted the honor from Onondaga County Supervisor Joanie Mahoney on behalf of the farm; meanwhile brothers Tom and Bill were back on the farm tending to harvest.
"What a tremendous economic engine farming is in Onondaga County," Mahoney said.
She made a point to tell Greenfield that she took time out from the county's budget process to come out and thank him personally because of the importance of their farm on so many levels including work ethic and environmental conservation.