Three Cayuga County, New York, dairy farms joined Partners for Healthy Watersheds, of which ADA North East is a founding member, to host tours to show more than 30 elected officials and other environmental leaders how farmers are committed to protecting local water resources using best quality practices.

Greg Rejman of Sunnyside Farms, Scipio Center, N.Y., discussed crop and field management through nutrient management and runoff prevention using cover crops, field strips and crop rotation.

Jason Burroughs of Aurora Ridge Dairy, Aurora, N.Y., discussed manure management and anaerobic digestion. “Water is a very important resource to our farm and our community. Protecting it is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. It’s important for farms to implement best management practices to ensure fields remain productive, soils continue to be healthy, and water sources remain safe and protected,” said Burroughs.

Kelly O’Hara of Oakwood Dairy, Auburn, N.Y., talked about in-field technology and efficiency that reduces skips and overlaps, saves on fuel costs, and allows for the creation of management zones in the fields. He said, “Our equipment and technology allow us to inject manure 3-5 inches under the soil surface to prevent runoff, control odor, and decrease truck traffic between fields. These systems are very efficient, and our farms utilize best practices to improve soil structure while increasing our water holding capacity to prevent runoff.”

Partners for Healthy Watersheds advocates for environmentally sustainable and economically feasible nutrient management solutions in local watersheds, by presenting practical solutions and educating consumers about best water quality management practices within the agriculture industry. Founded by organizations representing New York dairy farmers, including American Dairy Association North East, New York Farm Bureau, New York Animal Agriculture Coalition, and Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Partners for Healthy Watersheds looks to convene a cross-section of like-minded community residents, who base decisions and strategy on sound science.

Learn More: Partners for Healthy Watersheds