Hazlitts win conservation award
WATKINS GLEN—The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District named Jim and Eric Hazlitt the recipients of the 2013 Conservation Farmers of the Year Award during their annual banquet Friday, Jan. 31 at the Watkins Glen Elks Club. District Field Manager Elaine Dalrymple sad the Hazlitts of Sawmill Creek Vineyards in Hector were selected because of their long dedication to conservation while running their agricultural operation.
“This year’s winners are farmers with an extremely long farming heritage,” Dalrymple said. “One in conservation that goes back decades, if not generations or hundreds of years. They maintain water quality, they are very close to Seneca Lake, so it has always been a big priority for this farm. They are an example for many of our farms and they help work with other farms in terms of implementing conservation practices.”
Dalrymple credited the Hazlitts for taking advantage of several Agricultural Environmental Management programs offered by the state, the conservation district and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“They have a nutrient management plan, they are always sampling their soils to make sure they are putting on the right amount of nutrients,” Dalrymple said. “They have always done integrative pest management. They now have one of the new weather stations but they have always been monitoring their farm. They don’t put on too many pesticides, they have diversion ditches and agrichemichal mixing facilities, so they are always trying to stay on top of it.”
The conservation district also recognized Doris Karius and Glenn Larison for their years of service. Both retiring board members received Service Awards in recognition of their dedication to conservation. Regional Stormwater Specialist Jessica Verrigni was also presented with a Merit Award during the event.
District Manager Jerry Verrigni outlined several of the projects addressed by the conservation district throughout 2013. During his presentation, he stressed the importance of shared services, especially with highway departments, to achieve natural resource protection. Some of the highlights he addressed included: five stream stabilization projects, 3,000 feet of hard road ditch stabilization in three towns, 29 miles of seeded road ditches and 82 acres of other critical area seeding, planning and implementation of agricultural environmental management on nearly 100 area farms including 100,000 feet of fencing for improved grazing, 190 acres of cover crops and mulching, farm structural practices, pesticide sprayer retrofits and weather stations for integrated pest management and educational events, many done in cooperation with Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension.