A Great Time at the 2024 F.N.Dinner

Thu, 04/11/2024 - 5:23pm -- CSMaxwell
Dinner at the 2024 Farmer-Neighbor Dinner

The Cattaraugus County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board would like to say "thanks" to the almost 400 attendees for packing the West Valley Fire Hall for the 12th Annual Cattaraugus County Farmer-Neighbor Dinner (2024)! This was the largest F.N. Dinner to date.

Music performed at the event by Homemade Jam.

View Photos from the 2024 FN Dinner

In Rememberance of Charles "Chuck" Couture

Chuck Couture

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis (Merle) Couture, whom he married June 19, 1965. He is also survived by his children, Curt (Renee) Couture of Oneida, Brian (Grace) Couture of Colchester, Conn. and Stacy (Steven) Taylor of Panama; siblings, Carolyn Farrell of Brockport, Catherine “Kitty” Biven of Rochester and James (Ann) Couture of Durham, N.C.; as well as eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Chuck was very involved with the community over the years, “wearing many hats”, on boards and committees:

  • Chairman of the Catt. Co. Planning Board
  • Catt. County Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board
  • Southern Tier West Planning Board
  • Seneca Trail RC&D
  • President of the West Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Member/trustee and finance chair for St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in West Valley
  • Former Catt. County Legislator
  • Former president/board member of the Catt. County Farm Bureau
  • President of the State Ag.
  • Teachers Association
  • Councilman for the Town of Ashford
  • Catt. County 4H
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
Chuck Couture talking with customers at a farmers market

Chuck and Phyllis started Fox Valley Greenhouse as a “retirement project” in 1971 after Chuck took several horticulture classes to complete his permanent certification.  This became a family project, encouraging a work ethic in the children and providing funds for recreation and vacations.

Chuck Couture and grandkids selling fruits and veggies at Farmers Market in Olean, NY (2011)
Chuck Couture's grandkids keeping morale up at the Farmers Market in Olean (2011)

The F.N.Dinner wouldn’t be what it is today as Chuck was part of the original committee that created it and was an instrumental part of each F.N. Dinner.

2024 Farmer-Neighbor Sponsors




  • Cattaraugus County Soil & Water District
  • Dairy Farmers of America
  • Gernatt Asphalt Products
  • Lake Erie Watershed Protection Agency
  • Southern Tier West
  • Wild Acres Family Farm
  • WNY Crop Management Association


  • ERA Team VP Real Estate
  • Gabel’s IBA
  • Nannen Arboretum


  • Erie and Niagara Insurance
  • Ortel Supply Inc.


  • Bison Meatballs
  • Veggie Platter
  • Cheese, Cracker & Pepperoni Platter
  • Spinach Dip


  • Salad
  • Beef provided by Ford Brothers Wholesale Meats
  • Turkey provided by Ford Brothers Wholesale Meats
  • Vegetarian Manicotti
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Buttered Carrot Medallions donated by Native Offerings
  • Harvard Beets donated by Native Offerings
  • Dinner Rolls (3C's Catering)


  • Carrotcake Cupcakes (3C's Catering)
  • Brownies (Reid's Food Barn)
  • Variety of Cupcakes (Cupcaked)


Farm of the Year: Valley View Farms

Valley View Farms with the 2024 Farm of the Year award

Nathan and Chelsey Nelson along with their children

Nathan and Chelsey Nelson along with their children, Paisley, Tucker and Everett, own and operate Valley View Farms, located in Machias, NY.

Valley View Farms was founded in 2013. The farm is situated on 160 acres that was originally farmed by Nathan’s grandfather, Cecil Perkins. Cecil operated a dairy farm on the property from 1957 until 1984. In 1988, Nathan's parents, Dave & Sue, purchased the farm. The dairy was no longer operational, however, they had a few beef cattle and pigs. In 1990, they started a family and raised their 2 sons, Nathan and Nicholas, there. Growing up helping his dad take care of his cows and pigs, Nathan developed a passion for farm life. In 1999 the old dairy barn collapsed due to heavy snow, and only fields were left. The interest in farming only grew stronger as Nathan grew older. In 2002, Nathan started his first job working on a local dairy in town. He worked there through his school years until he started college.

In 2009 Nathan began his college career at Alfred State College as a Heavy Equipment Truck and Diesel Technician major. Chelsey was also attending Alfred State as an Agricultural Technology student. After graduating, Chelsey made the move from her families 40 cow dairy in northeastern PA to Nathans home farm. Their goal was to bring the farm back to life. When their daughter Paisley was born in 2012, they made the decision for Chelsey to stay home and raise her while Nathan worked full time at Java Farm Supply Inc.

They purchased their first 3 beef cows from a neighbor. Those cows quickly grew into the 60 head they have today. With the growth of the beef herd, they built a barn to house their cows. After the birth of their sons Tucker (2016) and Everett (2018) they purchased the farm from Dave and Sue.

Having 3 small children and cattle prices being uncertain due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nathan and Chelsey decided to diversify their operation to include direct to consumer beef, pork, and chicken sales, along with produce, pumpkins and hay sales.

Nathan and Chelsey Nelson along with their children in a field of buttercups

Their passion for providing their customers with a sustainable product has become the main focus of their business. In commitment to providing a safe meat supply, the Nelsons have become Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified producers, Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) certified producers, New York State Cattle Health Assurance program (NYSCHAP) certified producers, and recipients of the NY Beef Farm of Excellence award. Their beef and pork is NY Grown and Certified.

They are members of the New York State Beef Producers Assoc. where Chelsey serves as a chairperson for Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, Cattaraugus County Farm Bureau members, and active with 4-H at the Cattaraugus County Fair.
Its been said “you can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus and the support.” Valley View Farms would not be the success it is without the help and support of our families, customers and landowners, and for that we “THANK YOU!”

Congratulations, Valley View Farms!

Friend of Agriculture: Rhonda Lindquist

Rhonda Lindquist receiving the 2024 Friend of Agriculture award

Rhonda Lindquist

Rhonda Lindquist developed an interest in agriculture at a young age through her responsibilities on her family’s beef farm and involvement with 4-H. She resides in Chautauqua County with husband, Bob. Her son, Max, resides in Berkeley, CA.

Rhonda is passionate about helping others. She has been employed by WNY Crop Management Association for over 17 years as a Farmstead Planner. Her responsibilities include evaluating facilities and providing recommendations, developing environmental plans, procurement of grants for farms to implement best management practices, consulting with engineers, interpreting regulatory requirements and working closely with farms to maintain compliance, advocating for farms at state and local levels, and disseminated agricultural information as needed.

Rhonda has volunteered throughout Western New York at “Visit the Farm Day”, “Sundaes on the Farm”, and other educational events designed to teach public agricultural practices and the importance of agriculture in our communities.

She has served on the following committees: NYS CAFO Workgroup, NY Water Quality Workgroup, Cattaraugus County Water Quality Council, Chautauqua County Water Quality Council, and the Cattaraugus County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Steering Committee.

Rhonda would like everyone to know It has been a privilege to work with so many producers in Cattaraugus County and Western New York. She will always value the relationships she has made with the farms and partnering agencies over the years.

Congratulations Rhonda!

Ag Legacy: Dick Rivers

Dick Rivers' daughter receiving the 2024 Ag Legacy award; Dick was on vacation and couldn't be there in person
Dick Rivers

Richard Rivers, “Dick”, grew up on his grandparent’s dairy farm where he joined 4-H when he was 12 years old. Dick was a Member of Adventurer’s 4H Club, Treasurer of Broome County 4H Council and attended Arnot Forest 4H Conservation Camp in 1957-59. Dick was able to plant several thousand seedlings as a 4H project.

Dick served many roles for the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), which included Cattaraugus CCE Board of Directors, Director and Board President in the mid 1980’s. Dick also served as the Executive Director of the Cattaraugus County Cooperative Extension 2018-2023 where he was instrumental in establishing Southwest Dairy, Livestock and Field Crop Teams.

During his time at CCE, Dick established Farm-to-School Programs in three Schools, re-established the Master Gardener Program and was able to successfully negotiated a contract with Town of Ellicottville for the lease of space in Town Center. He also coordinated the design and remodeling of CCE space including a new entrance to building. Dick coordinated with the CCE board and Farm Bureau to hold joint Annual Meetings and was a member of NYS Farm Bureau, NYS Forest Owners Association, Cattaraugus County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board.

Dick’s other Professional Experiences and Community Activities include: Industrial Arts Teacher – Johnson City High School, School Counselor – Broome-Tioga BOCES, Building Principal - Cattaraugus BOCES, Director of CTE – Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Member and President of Bertrand-Chaffee Hospital Board of Directors - 80’s, Member of Blue Shield of WNY Board of Directors (84 – 93), Volunteer Fire and EMS Service (1966 – Present), Member of Ellicottville Fire Company, Fire Chief of Vestal Fire Department, Cattaraugus County Fire Investigator, Member of Catt. County Arson Task Force

Thank you, Dick, for all you do to support agriculture in Cattaraugus County!

Conservation Farm of the Year: Mike Jones, Mekka Jo Farm

Mike Jones receiving the 2024 Conservation Farm of the Year from Jake Kelly of Catt. County Soil & Water Conservation

Mike Jones was born and raised on his family’s dairy farm in Randolph, NY. He was an active FFA member throughout his years at Randolph Central School. Mike began his own farm in 1978 where he raised Holstein heifers, draft horses and other various animals.

Mike is married to Pamela and has three children, Kurt Jones, Karah Mattern and Megan Crosson, and seven grandchildren.

Mike is presently raising Registered Black Angus and owns a team of Clydesdale horses and one riding horse.

Mike enjoys his family, golfing, attending horse shows and working the farm, caring for his animals and property.

He works closely with WNY Crop Management Association for crop rotation advice and soil erosion management.

concrete foundation and walls poured for a covered waste storage system at Mekka Jo FarmsRoof construction for a covered waste storage system at Mekka Jo FarmsCovered Waste Storage System at Mekka Farms

Mekka Jo farms installed a covered waste storage system with the assistance of Cattaraugus County Soil and Water Conservation District through the Agricultural Environmental Management Program (AEM) and the Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Many other local engineers, contractors, suppliers, and ag support providers came together to make this project possible.

The Farm also installed a heavy use area, to protect high traffic cattle crossings, roof runoff structures and drainage systems to help direct clean rainwater away from manure processing areas. These practices together will allow the farm to store manure during times when the ground is frozen or saturated. By storing the manure and applying it with the right site conditions the farm will utilize the nutrients more efficiently and protect water quality of Cattaraugus County.

Mike appreciates this honor and will continue to strive to manage his property with conservation of the environment an important part of his strategy.

Congratulations Mike Jones and Mekka Farms!

Event Donors

Agriculture Advocates

  • Ashford Small Engine Repair
  • Benz’s Sugar Shanty, LLC
  • Milliman Farms
  • Cattaraugus County Attorney’s Office
  • Cattaraugus County Dairy Ambassador Program
  • Cattaraugus County EDPT
  • Cattaraugus County Department Heads
  • Cattaraugus County Legislators
  • Cattaraugus County Soil & Water
  • Cornell Co-Op Ext of Cattaraugus
  • Durow Farms
  • Ellicottville Distillery
  • Gibbs Apiaries
  • Ginger Schroeder & Mark Heberling - D/B/A Waverly Pond Farm
  • HayBail Show Cattle
  • Hi-Y Farm
  • La Tudelana Farms
  • Maple Ridge Bison Farm
  • Milliman Farms
  • Perfectly Blended Family
  • Pines of Machias
  • Telaak Farms, LLC
  • West Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Wishing Star Farm


  • Cattaraugus County EDPT
  • Cattaraugus County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Cattaraugus County Cornell Co-op Ext.
  • Cattaraugus County Dairy Ambassadors
  • Cattaraugus County Health Department
  • Dairy Farmers of America
  • Catt. Co. Farm Bureau
  • Ellicottville Distillery
  • ERA Team VP Real Estate
  • Farm Credit East ACA
  • Lake Erie Watershed Protection Agency
  • M&T Bank
  • Nannen Arboretum
  • Southern Tier West
  • Randolph FFA
  • Wild Acres Family Farm
  • WNY Crop Management Association

Special Thank You

We would like to thank the West Valley Volunteer Hose Company and the West Valley Firemen’s Auxiliary for a great venue and preparing the food.


View Photos from the 2024 FN Dinner

Next #FNDinner

We hope to see you at next year’s Farmer-Neighbor Dinner on April 9, 2025.

The F.N. Dinner is coordinated by the Cattaraugus County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board.

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