Sunday, September 25, 2016

17 Farms Earn Dairy of Distinction Awards

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine:


Seventeen farms in New York state earned Dairy of Distinction awards this year.

The winners received bright Dairy of Distinction signs to proudly display at their farms.

The purpose of the award, which has been presented by the Northeast Dairy Farm Beautification Program for 32 years, is to recognize the hard work and dedication of Northeast dairy farmers and to honor those who maintain attractive farmsteads. 

Well-kept farm businesses help promote the dairy industry and enhance consumer confidence.

Farms must score at least 90 out of 100 points to receive the award. Judges consider the cleanliness and physical conditions of buildings and the attractiveness of the surroundings, including landscaping, roads and lanes, fences and ditches. Judges also rate the cleanliness of the animals and barnyards.

Char-Marie Farm LLC in Bloomville, Delaware County, one of the winners, has been in operation for over 200 years.

Dairy has been the main source of income for the six generations who have run the business since 1815.

Now operated by cousins Brian and Jeff Haynes, Char-Marie Farm has increased production every year with advancements in feeding and care for the animals.

In 2014, Brian and Jeff were awarded a Delaware County Outstanding Young Farm Family Award.

The Vellenga family in Orange County are also Dairy of Distinction winners this year. Troy and Tina Vellenga and their children, Dustin, Brad, Kally and Tyler, are the owners and operators of Crestline Dairy LLC in Middletown. 

Troy’s father purchased the farm in 1960, and Troy took over in 1992. The Vellengas have over 200 dairy cows, not including heifers and young stock. A milking parlor and slatted floor freestall were built last year to add cow comfort and improve production.

In Franklin County, the Hutchins Family Farm in Malone is a Dairy of Distinction winner. Owned by Robert, Barbara and James Hutchins, the picturesque farm is home to 50 Jersey cows and 50 head of young stock.

The Hutchins family grows all its feed, including corn, alfalfa and grass hay on 120 acres, plus an additional 30 acres of rented land.

The family suffered a devastating barn fire on July 19, 1993, on Barbara and Roberts wedding anniversary. The dedicated help of good neighbors and friends allowed the barn to be rebuilt in three months.

A lean-to for the young stock and a small freestall were added over the years.

Previously honored farms are judged again each year in order to maintain the Dairy of Distinction honor.

All active dairy farms in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Jersey and Maryland are eligible to apply for the Dairy of Distinction award.

To apply for the award in New York, an application must be submitted by April 15 to Nancy Putman, the state secretary for the program. She may be reached at 315-322-5493 or

Visit for more information, including that for the other states.

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