The HVADC Cultivator
Hudson Valley Beef Producer Wins National Environmental Award
Photo courtesy of Thunder View Farms
Thunder View Farms of Grahamsville in Sullivan County was awarded 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 at the end of January. This is the first time a New York farm ever has been honored with this award, which has been presented since 1991.
Now a fifth generation operation, Thunder View Farms originated in 1958 when Phil Coombe brought five registered Angus cows to the farm. Phil’s brother Dick joined the operation soon after and they have been running the operation together ever since. Today, the farm has more than 200 seedstock cows on over 1,500 acres, and is situated between the Neversink and Rondout reservoirs, which make up a part of New York City’s water supply.
“We know that so many of our Hudson Valley farmers have strong environmental practices and make every effort to care for and protect their land. It is outstanding that the first New York winner of this stewardship award is right here in our region, and is a NYS Grown & Certified participant,” said Todd Erling, Executive Director Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation. “Thunder View Farms is such a fine example of all the best practices that can be employed to protect land and preserve it for future generations.”
In the 1990s, New York City proposed tough watershed regulations that would have driven most farmers out of business, but the Coombe family, along with other families in the area, convinced officials that a way to keep land and water in pristine conditions was to keep the land and forests in well managed farms.
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 the farm. In 2009 the Coombes placed a permanent conservation easement on more than one half of their acreage to help ensure that the land will be protected from development while providing open space and environmental protection for New York City's water supply.
Thunder View Farms is a NYS Grown & Certified producer. The program certifies New York State producers who adhere to high food safety and environmental stewardship standards. For more information about NYS Grown & Certified visit certified.ny.gov
“They have been excellent stewards of the land,” said Paul Rush, Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Environmental Protection. “They work very closely with the water supply to protect it while producing high quality beef.”
In congratulating the Coombe family, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said
“New York’s farmers are known for their leadership in land stewardship and this award recognizes outstanding members of our farm community. 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.”