STEUBEN, NY – Longtime Oneida County dairy farmer Benjamin Simons recently received some just reward for all his hard work off the farm as an agriculture advocate to anyone who will listen.

Ben, along with his wife Robin and son Chris, operate an organic dairy, extensive firewood business and crop business that includes hay production and organic corn and soybean enterprises on Starr Hill, west of Remsen, NY.

Famously known as “Ben from Steuben,” he has served on the Oneida Co. Soil & Water Conservation District Board for 27 years, as a member of the Boonville Farms Milk Cooperative for 30 years and on the Oneida Co. Cooperative Extension Board for nine years. Ben has been a prominent part of Oneida Co. Farm Bureau for over a decade, serving as local board director, president and New York State Director.

Ben also volunteers on the Remsen Development Association, the Boonville-Oneida County Fair Board, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Council with Oneida Co. Sheriff Rob Maciol and is the voice of Central New York agriculture on WUTQ 100.7 FM and WIBX’s “Keeler in the Morning.” He is currently the president of the Oneida Co. Association of Towns, vice-chair of the Steuben Town Planning Board and the newly elected Republican Committeeman for Boonville.

Oneida Co. farmer receives NYS Senate Commendation Award

(L – R) Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon, Ben and Robin Simons and State Sen. Joe Griffo celebrate Ben’s 2022 Commendation Award. Photo by Troy Bishopp

All his countless hours advocating and contributing to local agriculture were recognized by New York State Sen. Joe Griffo. Griffo awarded Ben with a prestigious New York State Senate Commendation Award in a ceremony at Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY, along with 19 other members of the community.

“The award is one way the Senate recognizes exceptional people who have made a lasting contribution to their community,” Griffo said. “It is a great pleasure to recognize these individuals, like Mr. Simons. Each person has shown remarkable commitment and dedication to improving their communities. Their exceptional work has truly made their communities and the region a better place for all.”

“I’m humbled and honored to be recognized for this award among a group of community leaders and happy to take an active role to promote our number one industry in New York State and Oneida County,” said Ben. “A big thank you goes to my wife and son for supporting my off-farm endeavors. This award would not be possible without them or encouragement from my peers in agriculture.”

by Troy Bishopp