Leyden’s Facey nominated for state group’s farm award

LEYDEN — Warren Facey Jr., who has been involved in advocating for agriculture for most of the more than 40 years he’s been farming on Bree-Z-Knoll Farm, has been nominated for an annual award presented by the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation.

Facey is the Franklin County nominee for the John Ogonowski Award, given to a Farm Bureau member who has shown distinguished service to the organization, to agriculture and to the community as a whole. The award was established in 2001 as a memorial to a longtime farm bureau member, county leader and Sept. 11 terrorist attack victim who was piloting American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center.

When Facey began operating Bree-Z-Knoll with his wife, Sandie, in 1972, there were 16 dairy farms in town. Today, the farm, which he operates with their son, Randy, is Leyden’s lone remaining dairy farm, with 170 milking cows producing 370,000 gallons of milk a year. Yet they still know every cow by name.

As milk prices dropped and dairy farms started to disappear from the landscape, Facey began working to improve the profitability and efficiency of the farm so it would survive.

Facey has been a Farm Bureau member for 50 years, serving on its board of directors since the mid-1970s and playing an active role on its membership, resolution and dairy advisory committees.

For 25 years, he’s been a member and active leader in the Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers, many of them as executive director, and has been a board member of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture and governing committees, for the past 19 years, and was recently honored as a “Local Hero” by the organization.

Facey was a founding member of CISA’s Dairy Action Group and in 1998, he and members of this group formed the Our Family Farms milk cooperative to market their locally produced dairy products and remains one of its five members.

Facey has also been involved with the Leyden Agricultural Commission since it began in 2005 and has served on the Leyden Planning Board for more than 30 years. He’s also beginning his second three-year term on the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust board and is a member of the Franklin County Food Council. He’s also worked with the state’s new Landscape Partnership Program to protect most of its 280 acres.