A Case for Farmland Conservation.

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.

Don’t miss a book launch featuring Luke Deikis from Quincy Farm!

Williamstown, MA, may or may not be a bit of a hike for ya’ll, but if you happen to be in the area, be sure to visit the Greenhorns official book launch!  50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement features 50 essays from new farmers, edited by Zoë Bradbury, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Paula Manalo.

Luke Deikis of Quincy Farm (which happens to be one of our awesome stops on Tour de Farm!) will be speaking!

For more information visit http://storey.com/prebook_detail.php?isbn=9781603427722&cat=PreRelease

The Historic Barns of Nipmoose

Agriculture has played a key role in the formation of the Hudson Valley’s landscape, as well as its identity.   Today, it remains an important and viable industry in the Hudson Valley.

Consider these statistics:  (which also can be found in this report by the Glynwood Center)

  • NYS has the third highest dairy sales in the nation;
  • As of 2007, the Hudson Valley was comprised of 848,456 acres of farmland (17% of the entire region);
  • 38% of those acres lay in Washington County (home of Tour de Farm!); 20% in Rensselaer and 15% in Saratoga.

At the Troy Farmers’ Market

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In defense of land conservation funding.

Round Lake, a property protected by Saratoga P.L.A.N. Photo by Bob Lippman.

In conserving the land, we also conserve the farmers and foresters who work on and with it.  Vermont resident Alice H. Wells makes the case for land conservation funding and environmental education in a Burlington Free Press “My Turn” column.  Although she calls upon the Vermont state government and its people to invest in the land, her column speaks to anyone concerned with land stewardship, healthy agriculture and forestry practices, and the welfare of our future generations.

Announcing Hand Melon Farm!

Famous for its melons, we are proud to again have this third generation, 418-acre farm as the site of Tour de Farm’s route’s beginning, as well as the host of our post-ride picnic.  2012 is Hand Melon Farm’s third year as the site for the beginning and end of Tour de Farm.  The beautiful farm is much loved by past participants and throughout the region for their melons!

The start line of 2011’s Tour de Farm at Hand Melon Farm.

The Hand Melon Farm is celebrating over 100 years of operation.  During summer, they have pick your own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes and peppers when in season. They also grow corn, tomatoes, peppers, yellow and green squash, eggplant, pumpkins and fall ornamentals and of course the most luscious melons on earth!

Hand Melon Farm on a sunny day!

The Hand Melon retail operation is open from May until September and features farm grown produce and a wide variety of annuals, perennials, potted herbs and other fruits and vegetables. The farm stand also carries a variety of gift items, cheeses and other food related items. Hand Melon Farm sells our their produce wholesale when seasonally available.

Be sure to visit!