At its recent annual meeting, Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation presented the John Ogonowski Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture to Glenn Cook of Amesbury, Mass. The award was established in 2001 as a memorial to John Ogonowski, longtime MFBF board member, county leader and victim of the September 11th terrorist attack.
Ogonowski was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center. John was actively involved in the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, renting land to immigrant farmers from Cambodia and then serving as a mentor to them as they learned how to farm in this region. John loved farming and was also very active with the Dracut Land Trust, working to preserve open space for future generations.
Following in Ogonowski's footsteps, Glenn Cook has shared his passion for agriculture by mentoring over 85 international agricultural exchange students from 20 different countries. By sharing his knowledge and expertise of sustainable farming, this agricultural ambassador has an ever widening impact.
Glenn, too, has had a lifelong love of farming. He began his career in agriculture while still in high school, co-managing a farm in Hamilton. He went on to receive a degree in horticulture, specializing in the cultivation of fruit.
Over the years, he worked at a number of nurseries and orchards, and taught at the Essex Agricultural Institute. Glenn and wife Karen purchased farm property in Amesbury and later merged their business with his parents', forming Cider Hill Farm.Some 30 years later, the farm produces over 70 varieties of apples along with an assortment of peaches, pears, plums, small fruit, vegetables and chickens. This year, he reached his goal of achieving 100% of the energy needs for the farm through renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.