Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fabius Dairy Farm Named Conservation Farm of the Year in Onondaga County; Baker High Grad Wins Scholarship

Tre-G Farms, a dairy farm in Fabius, was named the Conservation Farm of the Year for 2013 in Onondaga County.

Farm owners Jim and Sue Smith received the award during the annual Conservation Day put on Saturday Aug. 3 by the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District. The event was held at Silver Spring Farm in the town of Onondaga.

A Jersey at Silver Spring Farm on Conservation Day
Also receiving an honor was Matthew J. Purdy, a 2013 grad of Baker High in Baldwinsville, who won the Al Sweetland Memorial Scholarship. Purdy will attend SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry for environmental science.

During Conservation Day, attendees were able to tour Silver Spring Farm, take wagon rides, eat delicious dairy treats like ice cream, cheese and milk and learn about the conservation efforts of local farms.

Tre-G Farms is a fourth generation dairy farm established in 1919 by Joseph Baumgartner. Today, the farm stands in its original location along the Route 20.

The farm's unique name comes from the German translation of Baumgartner, which is "tree gardener." The farm owners decided Tre-G, pronounced Tree-G, would stand the test of time no matter what surnames come about from marriages in the family.

Donny Jones, 3, Syracuse, enjoys milk at Conservation Day
Tre-G was honored for its conservation efforts to maintain the cleanliness of the Oneida Lake Watershed. The farm sits near the West Branch of Limestone Creek in the watershed and the Smiths have worked with the Soil and Water Conservation Service since the 1970s to maintain the watershed.

Some of their efforts include installing a milkhouse wastewater treatment system and barnyard runoff management system. They also have been involved in a heifer barn manure loading pushoff and rotational grazing system. 

The Smiths also have built and improved their earthen manure storage; stream crossings; crop rotations; tile drainage and some deep ripping to reduce compaction and have planted cover crops.

Here is some history of the farm from a brochure:

James Hudson, 2, Camillus, eats ice cream at the event
What started as a barnyard and a small herd of animals is now an operational dairy farm, working more than 500 acres of farmland and milking more than 150 Holstein cows. Recognized as a Dairy of Distinction, Tre-G Farms’ primary purpose is that of a full-service functional dairy farm.

With a milking herd of Holstein cows, the world’s highest producing dairy animal, the farm operates a mechanical milking parlor to cycle the herd through twice a day for production.

After a near-century in the agricultural business, Tre-G Farms has evolved into a central New York functional attractive agritourism site. We have expanded and grown with every passing year. Under the current operating generation, owners Jim and Sue have directed the development of a seasonal fruit and produce farm stand.

A Jersey calf looking cute

In 1996, Tre-G Farms introduced strawberries and in 1997 raspberries was grown. Current produce available includes asparagus, rhubarb, sugar-snap and shell peas.

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