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Local farm recognized for stewardship

THURMAN Nettle Meadow Goat Farm was one of two Warren County Farms recently recognized for its stewardship of the environment. Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan have been running the goat farm, which produces cheese coveted by upscale eateries throughout the Northeast. They now have a roadside sign to tell the world they are exemplary stewards of their soil and water resources, and are winners of the Agricultural Environmental Management Award. Nettle Meadow owners have worked with the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service on different projects that help prevent soil erosion, keep nutrients in the soil and protects surface and groundwater. Lori Kerrigan of the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District said that the goat farm is working on expanding its pastures so the goats can rotate and always have good grazing. Nettle Meadow has a three-year plan to sustain its pastures with rotational grazing, Kerrigan said. We also recognize their humane treatment of their goats. Its really a nice combination of good economy and environmental practices, Flanagan said. We went to the soil and water district to help us do it right, so we can expand our forage area in the best way to respect the environment. The many goats at the farm are allowed to roam free among its pastures. Many goat farmers are containing their goats in buildings to save money, Flanagan said. Our goats are free to wander and forage in their natural environment. Some people say you can taste the happy goats in the cheese. Nettle Meadow also takes in rescue animals, and has several turkeys, some donkeys and chickens, in addition to their goats. Kerrigan said that this is the first year the AEM awards were given in Warren County. We assess farmers needs and resources, and how they promote sustainability, she said. The conservation district, along with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, provides technical as well as financial assistance to farmers who wish to improve their property while conserving its resources.

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