Agricultural Environmental Management Award

2004 Winners - The Beckerink’s of Chautauqua County

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Matt and Nancy Beckerink’s careful attention to environmental stewardship has helped their Dutch Road Dairy to become a nationally-ranked milk producing operation. Winners of the 2004 Agricultural Environmental Management Award, the Beckerink Family of Chautauqua County were one of the first farm families in the state to incorporate AEM into their agricultural operation. The award, presented at the annual Empire Farm Days in Seneca Fall, recognized the family’s exceptional efforts in implementing conservation techniques that protect the land and water, while allowing the dairy operation to grow and prosper.

Located near Findley Lake, the Beckerinks have been working with the Chautauqua County SWCD to incorporate AEM practices and new technologies, which protect the lake’s water quality and maximize their farm’s efficiency. As a result, in the past ten years their operaion has doubles in size, with plans for further expansion. The farm ships over 13 million pounds of milk per year and is nationally ranked in the top five percent for overall milk production and production per cow. The farm is also ranked in New York’s top ten percent for profitability according to Cornell’s dairy farm business summary.

Dave Wilson, Chautauqua County SWCD Manager said, “The Beckerinks are very environmentally aware and want to do everything right from the get go. They have developed a customized AEM plan and installed several conservation practices addressing integrated crop and pest management, nutrient management, silage leachate, and barnyard runoff.” Most recently, the Beckerinks installed a manure treatment system that separates and composts solids, incorporates an aeration system to help control odor, and created bedding for their herd. The attribute their exceptional herd health and production in part to the use of this type of bedding. In addition, the reported a $35,000 to $40,000 savings in annual bedding costs.

Matthew and Nancy are both graduates of Cornell University. Matthew is a community leader actively involved in efforts such as the Chautauqua County Advocates for Agriculture, CCE Agricultural Committee, French Creek Agricultural Working Group and Findley Lake Watershed Management Team.