WGXC-90.7 FM

County farm plan input highlights relationships

Feb 10, 2011 8:48 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Chatham's Berry Farm in winter."][/caption]As it gets ready for the remaining three of five focus group meetings to help determine the shape of the County’s first agriculture and farmland protection plan, Columbia County’s Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board sent out some analysis on what has been said to date by the dozens of farmers, farm landowners, community leaders, and interested residents who have gathered in North Chatham and Hudson in the past three weeks. Participants at the meetings have discussed the changing nature of agriculture in the county, heard from the Hudson Valley Agri-business Development Corporation about those who have found success diversifying their operations, but also the support needed for those farmers who want to make the transition from one of the county’s historic types of farming – dairy and tree fruit, for example – to growing vegetable crops, or raising livestock for direct sale to a local market. Other topics have included new markets, relationships between local farms and non-farm landowners, the need for local meat processing and for “added-value” processing facilities, as well as the need to educate the public about how to be a good neighbor to farming. As one attendee noted, county residents like the “rural ambience” of farmland, “but they don’t always understand what it takes to be a farmer.” The next focus groups will be from 10:00 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, February 19th at the Copake Town Hall (snow date: Tuesday, February 22nd, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.), 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 3rd in Germantown, and 10:00 a.m. to noonon Saturday, March 19th in Stuyvesant. For more information contact Ellen Jouret-Epstein, Columbia Land Conservancy’s Land Protection Manager, at 518.392.5252, ext. 208 or ellen@clctrust.org.
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