We recently expanded our Conserve A Local Farm (CALF) program designed to keep farmland properties in production by matching farm sellers with buyers who are committed to either farming the land themselves or leasing it to a farmer. CLC is working with realtors and individual sellers to help advertise their farms to conservation-minded farm buyers; and we are now working in a broader capacity to include a wider range of farm properties, including affordable properties suitable for beginning farmers. For more information or to list a property, please visit our website or contact Marissa Codey, 518 392 5252, ext 211.
Featured News and Highlights
Enter to win a free week at summer camp! CLC is sponsoring two Columbia County residents, ages 11-to-17, to attend the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation education camps where campers connect with nature and learn outdoor skills. There are seven week-long sessions, starting on June 28, 2015 and ending August 14, 2015. This program is part of CLC’s ongoing efforts to prepare the next generation of leaders to value land conservation. Each year, CLC provides thousands of people of all ages with hands-on learning experiences at our public conservation areas and other outdoor locations around the county. Enter by March 18, 2015 by contacting Tom Crowell, 518. 392. 5252, ext. 209. On March 25, 2015, the winners will be randomly selected.
by Peter Paden Published March 4, 2015 in the Register-Star
Anyone who has read these columns over the years knows that I take every opportunity to trumpet the diverse and significant ecological characteristics of Columbia County – expansive forest tracts, abundant wetlands and water bodies, rich soil base, healthy and varied habitat for animals and plants, all of which combine to provide highly scenic, often expansive vistas in every direction. These characteristics are an integral part of the qualities that make the county a special place, that give rise to our highly-valued rural character and make it such an attractive place to live – full-time or part-time, to work and to operate a business. It follows that if we want to ensure that these qualities will last, we must be committed to a strategy of conservation and thoughtful planning.
Warm days and cold nights are the perfect recipe to get the sap flowing in sugar maples across the northeast. The sugar maple has been our state’s official tree since 1956, and New York is second only to Vermont in maple sugar production in the United States. March 21-22 and 28-28, 2015 are the official Maple Weekends in New York. CLC however has an early bird treat for you – a guided tour at a local sugar bush, The Farm at Miller’s Crossing, on Saturday, March 14 at 2:00 pm. The farm owners will explain the present day gravity fed collection system, the techniques of collecting sap, and boiling the sap down to syrup. We’ll be joined by environmental educator Justin Wexler to talk about Native American traditions of maple sugaring. If last year is any indication, you will have a chance to taste the sweet syrup as it comes out of the pan! To register, click here.
CLC, in partnership with Scenic Hudson and Northeast Farm Access, LLC, protected 189 acres of working farmland on two properties of the Copake Agricultural Center, supporting a groundbreaking, investor-driven initiative to make farmland available to both young farmers and experienced farmers seeking to expand their operation. The Northeast Farm Access brings together farmers seeking long-term land security with social investors focused on the “triple bottom line” of financial, social, and environmental returns on their investment. The Copake Agricultural Center leases the protected land to three young farm families growing wholesale, market, and restaurant vegetables and flowers. Scenic Hudson provided full funding for the project, and CLC holds the conservation easements on the 186 acres of farmland, protecting them from development. Read Register Star’s coverage here.
“This project is a great example of CLC’s work to conserve farmland and help farmers obtain access to it in creative ways,” said Peter Paden, CLC’s executive director.
Entries are still being accepted for Farm Film Fest 7, an exciting annual event sponsored by CLC, the Chatham Agricultural Partnership, and the Chatham Film Club. Deadline for submissions is February 20, 2015. The festival shows films that focus on farms, farming, and farming issues, and is especially interested in films that have a local connection. Films should be from 5-20 minutes and submitted in DVD format. The Farm Fest includes films made by professional and amateur filmmakers. Students of all ages are encouraged to submit their work. DVDs can be sent to: Farm Film Fest 7, The Chatham Film Club, PO Box 305, Chatham, NY, 12037. Contact: Mary Gail Biebel, The Chatham Film Club & The Chatham Agricultural Partnership; 518 392 5108. To find out more, check our calendar, or click here.
The Festival will be on Sunday, March 15, 2015, at the historic Crandell Theatre in Chatham, NY. We hope to see you – and your entry – at the Festival!
by Peter Paden Published February 7, 2015 in the Register-Star
Last week, Governor Cuomo released his proposed 2015-16 State Budget. It contains good news for the state’s farm economy and for every New Yorker who cares about their food and where it comes from. Governor Cuomo has proposed to make the state’s largest investment ever in the permanent protection of farmland: $14 million from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund plus $20 million made specifically available for farmland protection in the Hudson Valley.
This is good news as well for all of us in Columbia County who value our farms and our farmers, our working landscape and the rural quality of life that make the county such a special place. For the Columbia Land Conservancy, which is the primary catalyst for farmland protection here, it means we can expect another year of hard work resulting, we hope, in successful applications for funding that will allow more county farm families to stabilize their land security and enhance the financial health of their businesses.