New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that Thunder View Farms, a fifth-generation cattle farm in the Hudson Valley, received the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Environmental Stewardship Award for 2018. The award was presented to Phil Coombe, his brother Dick Coombe and his son Ric, grandson Patrick and other family members at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans on Wednesday. This is the first time a New York farm ever has been honored with this award.
“New York’s farmers are known for their leadership in land stewardship and this award recognizes outstanding members of our farm community,”Commissioner Ball said. “Congratulations to the Coombe family on this top honor. This family-owned operation has been active around the New York City watershed for decades, and they have worked successfully to implement projects that protect our natural resources for future generations while raising and caring for over 300 head of cattle.”
Thunder View Farms, owned by the Coombe family, is situated between the Neversink Reservoir and the Rondout Reservoir, which make up part of New York City’s water supply. By implementing several innovative best practices, such as installing feeding pads and using silage bags to feed their cattle more than 1,000 feet away from streams, they have reduced the potential of runoff and protected the watershed. The herd is fenced off away from streams and a gravity flow system provides clean water to their pastures. These practices have reduced waste and workload on the farm. The family also uses wind and solar power to run their 1,800-acre farm.
The Coombes’ conservation efforts have won praise from New York State and New York City officials. The farm is also a participant in the NYS Grown & Certified program. The NYS Grown & Certified program markets and promotes New York farms who meet high environmental management and food safety standards.
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Few New Yorkers better understand the importance of protecting our precious natural resources than our farming families. Hudson Valley’s Thunder View Farms has helped make New York a national leader in environmental stewardship through a series of innovative agricultural advances and a successful business model deeply rooted in sustainability.Congratulations to the Coombe family and their entire team on this well-deserved recognition.”
NCBA President Kevin Kester said, “As stewards of the land, we recognize the importance of improving environmental management practices and protecting our ecosystems. Thunder View Farms is a leading example of the stewardship found in our industry and serves as an inspiration for producers everywhere.”
New York State Beef Producers Association President Phil Trowbridge said, “We know that the vast majority of farmers in New York State go above and beyond in terms of caring for the land and it’s great to see these extraordinary beef farmers receive the national recognition that they deserve. We congratulate the Coombe family on this award and thank them for the hard work they put in to earn it.”
New York State Beef Producers Association Executive Secretary Brenda Bippert said, “We are very proud and excited for the Coombe Family for such an outstanding award at the national level. These are environmental practices that most beef producer’s do to assure that we are doing all we can do to improve our land for future generations.”
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “Thunder View Farm is a prime example how farms working with their Soil and Water Conservation District, utilizing the Agricultural Environmental Management program, can be great stewards of our natural resources. To protect the New York City watershed, the farm has implemented silage management programs, specialized manure management, concrete pads for feed management, created distance from streams and more, all done to protect the drinking water resources for New York City. They are well deserving of this award and I not only congratulate them for this but also thank them for all they have done.”
As of January 2018, New York State has nearly 13,600 cattle farms with 1.45 million cattle and calves overall, and 105,000 beef cows supplying nutritious, wholesome beef to consumers. These farms contribute to New York State’s economy by generating more than $329 million in sales.
Governor Cuomo launched NYS Grown & Certified in 2016 to help meet the growing consumer demand for local foods grown or produced to a higher standard. The program certifies New York State producers who adhere to high food safety and environmental stewardship standards. It is supported by a marketing campaign including advertising, on-product labels, and promotional and sales materials.
In addition to beef producers, fruit and vegetable growers, oyster growers, Christmas tree growers, pork, chicken, egg and maple producers are also participating in the program. There are also 19 dairy processors participating, representing nearly 2,100 dairy farms across New York State. For more information on NYS Grown & Certified, visit certified.ny.gov, or follow the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.