Agricultural Stewardship Association YEAR IN REVIEW 2010-11 Protecting Farmland in Washington and Rensselaer Counties
Highlights 2010-11 With deep cuts to the New York State Farmland Protection Program budget, fiscal year 2010-11 was a challenge. Fortunately, with help from a very dedicated and generous community of supporters, we were able to keep up the pace of conservation and increase our outreach program to grow our membership and work with new partners. Thank you for your dedicated support, we couldn’t have done it without you!
Thank you to the landowners who chose to protect their land in 2010-11. At a time when New York State is losing approximately 9,000 acres of farmland to development each year (that’s one farm every 3 ½ days!), these landowners are ensuring that there will be good land for future generations of farmers. They have truly made a tremendous gift to our community.
• Helped five local farm families protect 1,025 acres of productive land and ensure its availability for future generations • Worked with landowners to further 20 projects in progress, totaling 4,032 acres. • Hosted a variety of educational programs for children, adults, and landowners designed to forge a connection to the lands we’ve helped protect and foster an understanding of farming, forestry and land stewardship. • Fulfilled our responsibility to the community and the landowners who have protected their land by conducting site visits to each of the 70 properties conserved prior to 2010 to ensure the terms of their easements are being upheld.
Agricultural Stewardship Association 14 Main Street, Suite 100 Greenwich, NY 12834 ph: (518) 692-7285 fx: (518) 692-7720 firstname.lastname@example.org www.agstewardship.org
Braymer Farm, Salem
Eighty-two year old Evelyn Braymer began plans to conserve her Salem farm in 2004 and with characteristic grit and determination was able to see it through to completion in 2010. Evelyn’s parents started dairying there in 1928 but were forced to sell a year later with the onset of the Great Depression. They rented the land until the end of World War II, when Evelyn and her husband were able to buy it back. There’s no doubt that Evelyn feels passionately about protecting the land that holds so many family memories. She also inspired her neighbor Bob Beattie
(now deceased) to conserve his 300-acre farm. Both farms lie within a few miles of other protected properties which together comprise 1,233 acres of protected land along County Route 153. An anonymous donor provided funding to purchase the easement and Evelyn donated a portion of its value in a bargain sale transaction.
Landview Farms, White Creek
Landview Farms, LLC is a large dairy farm owned by Roland and Jane Walker, their son Randy Walker, and Mark Anderson. The farm is based in White Creek and rents a number of support lands in the nearby region for crop cultivation. Two leased properties came up for
sale but the Walkers were not in a position to purchase them. ASA’s conservation partner, Castanea Foundation, was able to act quickly to acquire them, work with ASA to conserve them and then convey them to Landview Farms at their agricultural value. The Walkers also donated an easement on land they already owned, resulting in the protection of three properties totaling 287 acres. Randy Walker explains, “Conservation enabled us to purchase land at its agricultural value that we had previously rented. Securing the land our operation depends upon allows us to manage it completely. It also protects our future viability.”
The Hill Farm, Hoosick Falls
In December, ASA partnered with the owners of The Hill Farm to conserve 271 acres of farmland along the Hoosic River. The farm, located outside of the Village of Hoosick Falls, is used for horses as well as hay and pasture by a neighboring sheep farmer. The owners generously donated a conservation easement to protect the agricultural resources of the property as well as the extensive frontage along the Hoosic River. The 2009 New York State Open Space Conservation Plan lists the protection of the Hoosic River corridor as a priority conservation project given its ecological diversity and the fertile farmland and woodlands along its banks. With the conservation of The Hill Farm, ASA has assisted in the protection of more than 2,000 acres of farmland along the Hoosic River and has a number of other projects in the works!
Mapledale Farm, Berlin
The Greene family, father Paul and sons Carl and John, operate Mapledale Farm on Greenes Brook Road in Berlin. Their ancestors include two farming families who were among the pioneering settlers of the Berlin area. Today, Paul, Carl and John operate a modern dairy, milking 430 cows. In the last few years they have diversified and are making cheese which they market direct and wholesale. The Greenes rent land in addition to their home farm to raise crops to support their dairy operation. They began renting one 50-acre parcel from Bob Bentley, a cousin, who had retired from dairying. Bob was anxious to keep the land in the family and in agriculture. The Greenes approached ASA with a plan to purchase the land from their relative and protect it with a conservation easement. ASA secured a grant from the Castanea Foundation to pay for a portion of the easement, making it
more affordable for the Greenes to acquire, and they donated the remaining value.
Telford Farm, Hoosick and White Creek
Sisters Carol Leith, Donna Baumann, and Laurie George donated a conservation easement on the 272-acre Telford Farm, which straddles the Hoosick and White Creek town line on Telford Road. The farm has been in their family since 1911 and was operated as a dairy until 1992 when they switched to raising beef. The sisters grew up immersed in farm life. Their mother Marge and her brother Bill were both raised as farmers. Marge lived on her parents’ farm until she married their father and bought a dairy farm in White Creek. Uncle Bill continued to work and live on the Telford farm his whole life. When the sisters were deeded the farm from their grandmother shortly before she passed away, they all agreed they wanted to protect it. Although none of them are currently involved in agriculture, they felt strongly that the land should continue to be farmed and worried about what would happen to it in the future. Carol explains, “We could sell it to a farmer we trusted to keep it as a farm, but what would happen when he and his family were done with it? Protecting it now means we don’t have to worry–it will never be broken up. It will remain available for farming. We feel really good about that.”
The Greene Family
As the number of protected properties grows, so does ASA’s responsibility to steward them and ensure that the conservation goals set forth in the easement are being upheld. In 2010-2011 ASA’s stewardship team, in partnership with the landowners, conducted site visits to all properties under easement. ASA also committed to participation in the Land Trust Alliance’s Conservation Defense Insurance, which they are in the process of raising funds to initiate. This insurance will help cover legal defense of conservation easements and strengthen the program by mitigating ASA’s fiscal responsibility should litigation occur. Good landowner relations are key to the stewardship program and ASA continues to build them by offering workshops on a variety of land management issues. ASA worked with Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District to offer a farm pond management workshop at the conserved Hanf property in June. Mark and Quimby Mahoney, neighbors and fellow easement donors who attended, said, “We have a farm pond that we plan to expand and would like to put in another pond in the future. The workshop was very informative and well organized. We learned a lot that was useful.” ASA also worked with Len Cronin, a certified Finch forester, who led a walk on the conserved Klein forest in Jackson. He discussed how forest management plans can be developed and used to meet landowner’s objectives.
Outreach and Education
ASA continued to expand its offering of events and programs in 2010-2011. We initiated our Farm Photography for Kids program and visited two conserved farms. Photographers Dona Ann McAdams, Cliff Oliver and Corrina Aldrich taught the basics of photographic composition and lighting to a group of kids aged 7 to 16. A grant from TD Bank enabled us to produce and frame photos from each participant to hang in a special exhibit at the Washington County and Schaghticoke fairs. We held three large public events starting with our 20th Anniversary Barbecue Celebration held at the Washington County Fairgrounds. More than 400 supporters came out to help celebrate the protection of more than 10,000 acres since ASA’s founding in 1990. Utilizing a grant from the Historic Saratoga Washington on the Hudson Partnership Program, we partnered with Saratoga P.L.A.N. and the Saratoga National Historical Park to host Tour de Farm. Bicyclists rode through protected land in the Saratoga Battlefield Region to learn more about local farms, American history and land conservation. We also expanded our Landscapes for Landsake Art Exhibition. More than 1,200 people attended and we raised a record $30,000 for our farmland conservation program. ASA also worked with a number of landowners and educators to host smaller programs. These included dairy farm tours of Tiashoke Farms and Hooskip Farm, a Walk on the Wild Side with naturalist Howard Romack, Foraging for Wild Mushrooms with mycologist Sue Van Hook, Painting the Landscape with artists Virgina McNeice and Patricia McEvoy, and a tour of Eli Truhart’s sugarhouse.
Statement of Activity—April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011 Most of ASA’s operating income derives from individuals and grants which provide the funds necessary to carry out ASA’s day to day programs including conservation easement acquisition, stewardship and outreach. ASA’s total budget for FY2010-11 was $854,752. This included an operating budget of $486,491 and a land project budget of $368,261. The operating budget for this period is highlighted below. Operating Revenue, $486,491
Operating Expenses, $486,491
Foundation & Gov't Grants 37.4%
Land Protection 37%
Land Stewardship 8%
Individual Contributions 18.5%
Outreach & Education 30%
Net Assets Released 20.3%
Admin & Support 9%
Earned Income 13.3%
You can help ensure a future for agriculture in our community • Become a member of ASA.
• Volunteer your time and talents. • Be a conservation leader by protecting your land. • Make a gift of real property or make a bequest in your will. • G ive through your workplace and ask your employer about matching gifts or workplace giving through EarthShare. • Give monthly and provide a reliable stream of support for conservation. • H onorary, memorial giving and gift memberships are meaningful ways to honor loved ones and make a gift to future generations. For more information about ways you can support local farmland conservation, please contact Executive Director Teri Ptacek at (518) 692-7285 or by email at email@example.com.
Board of Directors 2010-11 Mary Ellen Williams, Chair, Greenwich Seth Jacobs, Vice Chair, Argyle Tom Jilek, Treasurer, Salem Stephan Deibel, Secretary, White Creek Art Brod, Poestenkill & Easton Gene Ceglowski, Rupert, Vermont Thomas Christenfeld, Easton Megan Galbraith, Cambridge Phil Gitlen, Easton Dave Horn, Easton Alyssa J. McClenning, Northumberland Remus Preda, Argyle Margaret Stowkowski, Granville Stuart Ziehm, Cambridge
ASA Staff Teri Ptacek, Executive Director Renee Bouplon, Associate Director Chris Krahling, Project Manager Janet Britt, Easement Steward Meegan Finnegan, Communications and Programs Manager Photography:
Thank You! We gratefully acknowledge our members who gave $500 or more between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. We also thank our many other supporters whose gifts play a crucial role in our success but whose names are too many to list. Please see agstewardship.org for details. Foundations Anonymous (2) Castanea Foundation The Community Foundation for the Greater Capitol Region Gordon Foundation Norcross Wildlife Foundation Nordlys Foundation The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, Inc.
Government Natural Heritage Trust* NYS Conservation Partnership Program** NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets Rensselaer County Town of Easton Town of Pittstown
Cream of the Crop Anonymous (5) Agamora Farm, a division of Beech Hill Farms Agard & LaPan
Land Surveying The Chazen Companies Gina, Stephan and Ajanta Deibel Ethna Duffy The Fort Miller Group, Inc. Philip Gitlen and Melody Mackenzie Noel and Judy Hanf Dave and Margaret Horn John Stokowski & Sons Inc. Juniper Farm Al and Debora Klein Carol and Douglas Leith Mark and Quimby Mahoney The McGraw-Hill Companies Peg Olsen and David Darrin Owl Pen Books The Phantom Laboratory Don Pompliano and Kathy Taylor Teri Ptacek Kathy and Hugh Roome Gary Stine and Nina Lockwood Daniel and Deko Stone Londa Weisman and Sidney Knafel
Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP Mary Ellen Williams Woody Hill Farms, Inc. Alexander and Marine Zagoreos
Benefactors Anonymous (1) James Alcott American Masala Farm Matthew Bender IV Betterbee, Inc. Douglas and Linda Bischoff Nancy and Alan Brown Al and Nancy Budde Grace Campbell Gene and Jean Ceglowski Dickinson & Company CPAs Earthshare Caroline Eastman and Bertram H. Freed Albert H. Garner Barbara Linell Glaser and Paul Zachos Glens Falls National Bank & Trust Company
Kenneth and D. Nancy Johnson K.C. Consulting, Erich Kranz and Martha Culliton Russell and Elizabeth LaCroix Joan and By Lapham Mitch and Doris Levinn Josh Levy Longlesson Farm - Melanie and Bob Mason Maryann McGeorge and Susan Sanderson Bliss and Robbie McIntosh Rich and Kathy Moses, Moses Farm Naturally Grass Fed William Ralston and Joan Bleikamp SCA North America Tissue Peter & Courtney Simon Stewart’s Shops Stirling Brook Farms Curt and Fleur Strand Robert Taylor TD Bank, NA Elizabeth Lynne Van Nest L J Van Patten
* Saratoga-Washington on the Hudson Partnership Program provided funding through the NYS Natural Heritage Trust **The NYS Conservation Partnership Program is administered by the Land Trust Alliance and funded through the Environmental Protection Fund
Thanks! ASA is very grateful to members Connie Kheel and Dennis and Ella Felcher who generously hosted gatherings in their homes to help ASA connect with new supporters. Master chef Suvir Saran also made a tremendous contribution by competing on “Top Chef ” and making ASA the beneficiary of his winnings. It was very exciting to watch him compete and hear ASA’s conservation work talked about on national television!