Working with Local Lake Association to Improve Water Quality

Situated in an environmentally sensitive area between two watersheds in the Finger Lakes region of New York that supply drinking water to more than 400,000 people, Twin Birch Dairy and owner Dirk Young have implemented on-farm practices that reduce their carbon footprint and protect the surrounding water for drinking and recreation.

In 2003, Twin Birch Dairy was one of the first farms in New York State to install a digester which allows the farm to manage manure. While the biggest impact of recycling manure is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and energy production, it also provides other environmental benefits for farms looking to reduce potential run-off into local waterways.

Twin Birch Dairy also volunteered to take part in a study with Owasco Watershed Lake Association to monitor water quality and identify strategies for improvement. The study found that water downstream of the farm was equal to if not higher quality than water upstream of the farm, confirming that the farm’s environmental practices are working.

“I have never been afraid of following the science and coming up with solutions,” says Young. “We also live in this community. I want and need the respect of the whole area to truly be successful.”