Twenty-four year old Michael Kilpatrick, of Kilpatrick Family Farm, has been farming in Washington County since he was a fourteen. He recently shared his testimony to the House Committee on Agriculture for the 2012 Farm Bill on the National Young Farmers’ Coalition blog. Among many impending issues for young farmers, such as regulation and farmer education, Michael makes a strong case for farmland protection.
As a farmer who leases land on from four different properties, Michael understands the value of making prime farmland affordable. He says,
Part of America’s greatness is in its amazing soil. It fueled the Westward Expansion, and even now its products are a major part of our exports and competitive edge. Good farmland is not cheap and it is being gobbled up by development companies at an alarming rate–over 1,200,000 acres in 2011 alone. That is 1,200,000 acres that will probably never be farmed again, that is forever lost to urban sprawl, shopping centers, or factories.
He also cites the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program as an essential part of farmland conservation:
Protecting our farmland is also vitally important. The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) administered by the United States Department of Agriculture has been a significant partner in this effort. The main goal of this program should be to protect at risk, working farmland for active agricultural production.
The testimony is compelling, well written and worth a read, especially if you’re interested in the issues today’s farmers face. Read Michael’s full testimony here.
In addition to running a CSA, Kilpatrick Family Farm sells at the Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls Farmer’s Market, as well as resturants Beekman Street Bistro, 50 South, and Four Seasons Natural Foods.