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Group names Hazlitts 'Farmers of the Year'

SCHUYLER COUNTY—Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards owners, Elaine and Doug Hazlitt, and Leigh Hazlitt Triner are the 2009 Conservation Farmers of the Year.
The announcement was made at the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual awards banquet, Monday, Feb. 1. The 2009 Service Award was also given to Dick Winnett, coordinator of the Finger Lakes Resource Conservation and Development Council. The last honor at the banquet was the 2009 Merit Award, given to Josh Hornesky, soil conservationist.
The conservation farmers of the year are part of a family that has been around over 150 years. Hazlitt was one of the first vineyards in the county to develop a nutrient management plan and to participate in the Vine Balance program; an Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program that promotes and documents sustainable production practices used by growers, processors and wineries.
Winnett, 2009 Service Award recipient, has obtained a number of grants and millions of dollars to assist not only farmers but rural landowners, businesses, and local governments and agencies. He works very closely with the Conservation Districts as well to obtain grant funds.
Winnett has found funds for timber bridges that use wood from the Southern Tier. He helped start the Venison Donation Program that now exists statewide and provides healthy meat to food pantries. Most recently, he obtained a large Fish and Wildlife grant to assist three of his counties, including Schuyler, with stream assessment and stream remediating work.
The Merit Award is presented to a person who has helped the District in a specific program area for a shorter time period and does so in a way that is above and beyond the normal call of duty. Hornesky, 2009 Merit Award recipient, is the Soil Conservationist in the Tompkins/Schuyler office of Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). There he helps farmers in the two counties with the planning and installation of best management practices. He was also an Earth Team volunteer at the NRCS state office assisting their cartographic division and he assisted the Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District.

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