Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Homer Farm Honored With Ag Environmental Management Award

E-Z Acres in Cortland County has won the state's top environmental award – the 2015 Agricultural Environmental Management Award. 

Each year, the award honors the outstanding efforts of a farm to protect soil and water quality.  E-Z Acres Farm , located near Homer, and its owner Mike McMahon were recognized for its environmental ethics, progressive production practices and community service work.

The honor was presented during a ceremony at Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls. Also honored was the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The McMahon family operates a 680-cow dairy farm on 2,500 acres of land in the Skaneateles Lake watershed.  To support their dairy operation, they also raise corn, alfalfa, and grass hay crops. 

As early adopters of the principles of agricultural environmental management, E-Z Acres farm has implemented several conservation practices that have also increased productivity.
The farm has replaced the traditional alfalfa-corn silage rotation with intensive grasses, which enhances soil conservation while also benefiting dairy herd health. 

With E-Z Acres’ land resting over Cortland County’s sole-source aquifer, the McMahons are also dedicated to quarterly monitoring of the water quality through stream and well testing. 

In addition, the farm uses a monitoring system and liner for the farm’s three million gallon manure storage, cover cropping of corn silage fields annually, and precision feed management to protect soil health. The farm has also taken energy efficiency measures by replacing lighting with energy efficient fixtures throughout the farm.

“I’m humbled to receive this esteemed award," McMahon said. "At McMahon’s E-Z Acres, it’s about doing things right and not about doing it for the awards. Like many in our business, we believe if we take care of the environment, the environment will take care of us.”

The McMahons were the first animal welfare-approved farm in New York State and have been leaders in the community representing the farm and the agriculture industry’s interests. 

E-Z Acres hosts several annual community events, including an annual Farm Field Day for Cortland County fifth graders and a Cornell University farm management class. They also partner with the Syracuse Rotary Club to provide farm tours for low-income families.

The farm has worked closely with the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District, which provides technical assistance to advance agricultural environmental management practices within the county.

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