Giroux's Poultry Farm among farms recognized for stewardship efforts

CHAZY A local poultry farm is among four farms in New York, Vermont and Quebec honored for their efforts beyond regulatory programs to reduce pollution entering the Lake Champlain watershed. Girouxs Poultry Farm, 8957 State Route 9, was recently awarded the 2006 Lake Champlain Farm Award recognized by the Lake Champlain Basin Program as a result of nominations from local agricultural organizations. The LCBP strives to coordinate and fund efforts which benefit the Lake Champlain Basins water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation and cultural resources. Roger Giroux, along with sons Craig and Willie, operate a third-generation poultry operation one the largest in New York State with more than one million eggs packed each day. Located within the shoreline communities of Champlain, Chazy, Beekmantown and Plattsburgh, the Girouxs have been credited with taking many steps to reduce agricultural impacts to Lake Champlain. Were very appreciative and its a big honor to receive this award, especially when you look at the whole area covered, said Craig Giroux, referring to the Lake Champlain Basin. Basically, weve worked hard to try to be good neighbors and good stewards. We try to put ourselves in our neighbors shoes. We feel the need to be responsible. In addition to being a poultry farm, said Mr. Giroux, the family business also hosts crops and utilizes its own high-fertility compost, which is also sold to many North Country farms. Feed rations for the laying hens are evaluated and balanced with phosphorus reduction in mind. Manure from the hens is then dried and composted on-site. Certified organic, the fertilizer grade compost is delivered to buyers in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Local growers benefit from the Girouxs custom spreading service which deposits products on the farm fields at precise tonnage rates. Much of the feed grain is grown and harvested on the farm. Corn and soybeans are grown in rotation utilizing reduced tillage techniques on tile drained lands. The Girouxs have also completed a comprehensive nutrient management plan which guides manure spreading applications. The industry has changed from using liquid manure to semi-liquid and is now using dry compost, said Mr. Giroux. Its more labor-intensive and capital-intensive, but, in the long run, we feel were ahead. Because agricultural production is identified as a significant source of phosphorus entering Lake Champlain, it is important that the Lake Champlain Basin Program recognize farmers who are taking exemplary steps to reduce pollution from their farms, stated Bill Howland, Lake Champlain Basin Program manager, in a press release. These award recipients lead by example, going beyond regulatory requirements in their effort to protect the waters that flow to Lake Champlain. Professional farmers should be recognized for the amazing job they do producing food for us while protecting the environment, and the LCBP Farm Award does just that, also stated Steve Mahoney, of the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District. Other recipients of this years award include Fermes Gasser Ltee, Pike River, Quebec; Burtland Farm, Georgia, Vt.; and Gosliga Farms, Addison, Vt. During the award nomination process, the LCBP partnered with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, the New York Department of Agriculture, the Vermont Farm Bureau, Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Quebec Ministry of the Environment and Parks, the Dura Club of Bedford, the Monteregie sustainable advisory club and the Centre de service du MAPAQ. Nominations are now being sought for the 2007 Lake Champlain Farm Awards. The deadline for submitting nominations is Monday, Nov. 12. For more information or to receive a nomination form, contact the Lake Champlain Basin Program at 1-800- 468-5227 or visit their Web site at www.lcbp.org .

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