GREENWICH, N.Y. — The Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) is pleased to announce the permanent protection of 520 acres on the Copses Farm in the Towns of Schaghticoke and Pittstown. More than 2,500 acres have been conserved with ASA to date within the two towns.
This conservation project is adjacent to several protected farms along the Hoosic River in Schaghticoke. Not only will the farm’s prime soils and ag viability be conserved for future generations, but it also serves to provide an important buffer to the river and its array of wildlife and the natural resources that it supports.
Copses Farm is owned and operated by new dairy farmers, Eric and Maureen Mayer. The Mayers purchased the property in 2013 with the goal of building a progressive dairy maximizing the potential of technology. Since then, the Mayers have made major investments in their operation including a robotic milking system, an electronic feed management system and a solar water heating system which allows the farm to heat its water while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our goal,” Eric explains, “is to create an operation that would not only sustain us, but something that we can feel good about in terms of its impact. Conserving the land has long-term beneficial impacts.”
Protecting farmland and promoting sound stewardship is a key strategy in helping to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Farmland emits 66 times less greenhouse gas emissions per acre than developed land in New York according to American Farmland Trust’s Greener Fields Report.
Both ASA and Rensselaer County identified the Copses Farm as a priority for protection and worked in partnership to conserve it. The state farmland protection project was made possible by funding from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which was administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The preservation of our farmland is so critically important, perhaps more than ever before. With the many challenges our farmers have faced during the pandemic, ensuring the land farmed will remain in agriculture forever is an opportunity to not only invest in the operation but also to protect the land for future generations. I congratulate the Mayer family and wish them well as they grow their farm.”
“Farming is central to the heritage of Rensselaer County, and agricultural businesses remain one of the largest employers in the county. The county is proud to support the farmers of today, and to help ensure a tradition of our county producing some of the best dairy, fruits, vegetables, flowers and other offerings anywhere. Part of that effort includes protecting farmland and open space like the Copses Farm. To date, the county’s partnership with the Agricultural Stewardship Association has resulted in over 8,000 acres being protected, and we look forward to future success,” said County Executive Steve McLaughlin.
Chuck Peter, Chairman of the Rensselaer County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board said, “Growing up on a farm and seeing many of the surrounding fields built up to houses and commercial use, I understand first-hand how important it is to preserve these valuable farmlands so future generations can enjoy both their beauty and the bounty of foods and goods they produce. I commend ASA for their continued hard work in preserving our beautiful landscapes and the Mayer family for making the decision to protect their farm forever.”
“It is very exciting to see farmers conserve their land. We applaud Governor Cuomo and New York State for making this investment in our future. It has a such a positive impact on our food system and local economy while keeping land available for farming forever,” said ASA Senior Project Manager Chris Krahling who oversaw the project.
With the closing of this project, the Agricultural Stewardship Association has helped 140 farm families conserve over 24,000 acres in Rensselaer and Washington counties. ASA was founded in 1990 by local farmers to conserve land and ensure a future for farming and forestry in our region. For more information about ASA’s work, visit www.agstewardship.org.
–Agricultural Stewardship Association
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