The operators of a dairy farm in the Town of Homer have received New York’s top environmental award for being role models in the industry.
McMahon’s E-Z Acres Farm has received the state’s 2015 Agricultural Environmental Management Award. The award honors the outstanding efforts of a farm to protect soil and water quality. Operators Mike and Pete McMahon were recognized during a ceremony at the Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls.
The McMahon’s milk 680 cow’s on 2,500 acres of land. A bulk of their operation is located not only in the Skaneateles Lake watershed but also in the Homer-Preble aquifer.
Over the years, the farm has voluntarily adjusted practices and been involved with the development of new methods in order to protect the critical water supplies that provide drinking water to thousands of people.
Mike McMahon, who also heads up the county industrial development and business development agencies, says his family recognizes the importance of being responsible stewards of the land and the environment
McMahon says working with the county soil and water conservation district, the farm has identified ways to improve operations and protect the environment. Right now the operation is replacing concrete feed bunk floors to prevent silage leachate from hurting water supplies.
The farm uses a monitoring system and liner for its three million gallon manure storage facility. Other practices include 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.
McMahon was recently involved in the creation and adoption of site plan review rules for large manure storage facilities in Homer. He says going forward manure management will be an ongoing topic for farmers, communities, and environmental advocates.