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Grape Vine Nursery Works with Conservation Partners to Protect Air Water Quality

Web image: Harvesting grapes on the Rak farm in Chautauqua County
Harvesting grapes on the Rak farm in
Chautauqua County
Web image: Willow cuttings being tied to a streambank to provide erosion protection
Along with their grape vine business, the Raks
also grow and distribute shrub willow. Willow
cuttings, such as these pictured, can be used
to construct a Brush Mattress, which prevents
streambank erosion

Full screen view

Web image: An agrichemical handling facility has worker safety features suchc as an eye wash station, emergency shower, and safety signs
An Agricultural Chemical Handling Facility,
such as the one shown here, has worker safety
features including an eye wash station,
emergency shower, and safety signs

Business Expands to Grow and Distribute Shrub Willow for Energy Supply and Riparian Buffers

Fredonia, New York

Dennis and Sue Rak of Fredonia, New York have been the owners of Double A Vineyards, a grapevine nursery business for more than 20 years. Seven years ago, they started Double A Willow, a subsidiary business dedicated to the growth and distribution of shrub willow for energy supply, riparian buffers, and other uses. Both enterprises utilize agricultural chemicals in order to control harmful insects, weeds, and fungi.

Chautauqua County Soil and  Water Conservation District (SWCD) Field Manager David Wilson encouraged the Rak family in their efforts to be proactive stewards of the region’s air and water resources by assisting them to conduct an Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program assessment of their facilities. The assessment identified the opportunity to construct an Agrichemical Handling Facility to keep ozone-depleting chemicals out of the air and to prevent the chemicals from entering ground or surface water.

The Raks successfully applied for funding under the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program Air Quality Initiative. They hired a Licensed Professional Engineer to design and supervise construction of a facility that meets NRCS standards.

The facility that they constructed in 2011 with EQIP assistance consists of a pole-type building with a concrete floor that is sloped to the center. A catch basin is located in the floor to collect any agrichemicals that may drip on the floor during the mixing process. The captured chemicals are utilized in the nursery production process according to New York State regulations.

The building also contains a chemical storage area, water supply for chemical mixing protected by an anti-siphon device, and worker safety features including an eye wash station, emergency shower, and safety signs.

Dennis Rak states “Conservation of natural resources has always been an important core value of our business. The agrichemical handling facility that was built on our farm with EQIP assistance has helped us to insure that air and water quality are protected for future generations.”

With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. If you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your county NRCS office.

Media Contact: Public Affairs 315-477-6524