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SUBMITTED by Penny Heritage, NYS Agricultural Society (12-Jan-2011)

Lagoner Farms receives Award
The New York State Agricultural Society honors families dedicated to farming, stewardship, and community involvement in New York. Lagoner Farms was recently named a “Century Farm” in continuous family ownership and operation for over 100 years. Four Century Farm families were honored as part of the 179th Annual Agricultural Forum of the New York State Agricultural Society, held January 6th in Syracuse, NY. Each family receives a proclamation signed by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo as well as an exterior farm sign; the award is sponsored by Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement.

HISTORY OF LAGONER FARMS

Wayne County
Williamson, New York
Established by Anthony & Jennie Lagoner in 1909

In 1909 Anthony and Jennie Lagoner purchased a 50 acre farm which has grown to more than 200 acres today. In the early days the farm consisted of a combination of cash crops and subsistence agriculture. Livestock, grains, vegetable and fruits were raised to provide for the family. Limited plantings of apples, peaches, cherries and pears were also grown to provide income for the balance of needs. Gradually the farm became more specialized as mechanization and the region’s infrastructure evolved. Farm equipment innovations, processing plants, rail lines and improved roads and trucks created new and expanded markets for increased acreages of pears, apples and sour cherries. By the 1960’s the farm was entirely devoted to the production of tree fruits. The appropriate climate near Lake Ontario along with the necessary marketing channels created an environment for these crops to remain viable.

Around 2000 the fifth generation expressed a desire to continue the family farm, and in an effort to increase income levels, acreage as well as production and marketing goals gradually expanded. Small fruits were planted along with a range of vegetables. Apples remain the cornerstone of the production base with increasing plantings of dwarfing rootstocks. A Farm Market was built in 2003 and expanded in 2010. The current trend towards buying local produce also helps to drive sales of the farm’s crops at area farmers’ markets, including the on-site Farm Market that is more than 7,000 square feet. As of 2010 there are three generations of the Lagoner family active in the farm business. The business also employs many other part-time, seasonal and full-time employees throughout the year.

Mark, Diana and Jacob Lagoner are the current farm owners. Their family is well known and very active in the local communities. Mark has served on the Town Planning Board, worked on the town comprehensive planning and has served in leadership roles in his church. He and his wife, Diana, also serve as youth group leaders at their Church. The family hosted fund raisers at the Farm Market for the three local fire companies in 2008 and 2009.

Agricultural organizations are also a part of their lives. Membership in the NYS Apple Growers, NYS Berry Growers, and the Fruit and Vegetable Association are but a few. Jacob, as well as several employees, is also an active member of the New Fruit Growers Group, a statewide association for new/younger fruit growers that is facilitated by the Lake Ontario Fruit Team of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Lagoner Farms’ continuing evaluation of marketing strategies, renewing plantings, upgrades in equipment and building maintenance are some and the many positives of this forward-thinking agricultural enterprise.

The New York Agricultural Society has been strengthening our state’s agriculture since 1832. The organization, which is nearly 800 members strong and growing, played an instrumental role in establishing agricultural organizations in New York including Cornell University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York State Fair, and LEAD New York. The Society's mission is to improve New York agriculture through education, leadership development and recognition programs. To mark its 175th Anniversary in 2007 the Society initiated the production of a PBS documentary about today’s New York Agriculture which aired on all PBS stations throughout the state- an audience of 18 million. For more information or to join the NYS Agricultural Society visit www.nysagsociety.org or contact Executive Secretary, Penny Heritage, at penny@nysagsociety.org , (518) 384-1715.



Photo ID (L-R)

Standing: Pat Hooker- outgoing NYS Ag Commissioner, Mark Lagoner, Mike Haycook- outgoing President NYS Agricultural Society, Dean Lagoner, Jacob Lagoner, Bob Smith- Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement (Award Sponsor)

Seated: Diana Lagoner, Valerie & Marshall Dysinger, Jaden Dysinger, Mary Lagoner, Mitzi & Isabella Lagoner

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