Beckerink family wins New York 2004 conservation award

ALBANY, New York, August 16, 2004 (ENS): The Beckerink Family of Findley Lake, Chautauqua County is the winner of theNew York State 2004 Environmental Stewardship Award. The award is given each year to a New York farm family that incorporates exceptional conservation practices on their farm.

The Environmental Stewardship Award was presented to the Beckerink family by New York State Agriculture Commissioner Nathan Rudgers at the annual Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls.

The Beckerinks' were one of the first farms in the state to incorporate best management practices as defined by New York's Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program, along with the use of technology and technical support provided by the Chautauqua County

A bunk silo leachate containment system and a barnyard water management system to treat polluted water and remove clean water were installed. An integrated crop management plan, an integrated pest management plan and a nutrient management plan were all developed specifically for the family's Dutch Road Dairy.

Diversion ditches and waterways and a conservation cropping system have been set up.

Most recently, the Beckerinks have installed a manure treatment system to efficiently handle and recycle sand for bedding. They attribute use of this type of bedding to the exceptional production on the farm.

Rudgers said, "The Beckerink family is an excellent example of the type of innovative young farmers working here in New York State. This young couple understands the importance of environmental stewardship and has seen the positive effects of good management practices in the overall productivity and profitability of their farm. Congratulations to the Beckerinks and to the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District for nominating them."

The Environmental Stewardship Award is jointly sponsored by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, American Agriculturist Magazine and the Empire State Potato Growers. The award winner was chosen from nominees submitted by County Soil and Water Conservation Districts from around the State.

This is not the family's first environmental award. The Beckerinks received the county's Conservation Farmer of the Year Award and the New York State Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award in 2003.

Matthew and Nancy are both graduates of Cornell University with a B.S. in Animal Science. Matthew is a member of the Chautauqua County "Advocates for Agriculture," a leadership development program of LEAD NY. He has also served on the Agricultural Committee for Chautauqua County Cornell Cooperative Extension, the French Creek Agricultural Working group and the Findley Lake Watershed Management team.

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