OTSEGO CO. and SCHOHARIE CO., N.Y. — On October 4 and 5, The Otsego County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Committee and Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties came together to host the Food, Water, and Climate Farm Tour. State legislators spent two days meeting farmers in our area to hear their commitment to farming and the challenges confronting them day to day and generation to generation. “The common interests we all share is the need for clean water and a secure food supply, and a desire to work together in combating climate change” stated Jim Barber, Ag & Farmland Implementation Specialist, from CCE Schoharie and Otsego Counties who coordinated the event. The tour brought all those interests together by showcasing the diversity of agriculture in the New York City and Upper Susquehanna watersheds, and the role our farms play in fulfilling those interests. Stops on the tour included: Lucky Dog Organic Farm (Hamden), Chicory Creek Farm (Mt. Vision), Brick House Road Farm (Richfield Springs), and Middlefield Orchard (Middlefield), as well as The 607 CSA Food Hub and Cooperstown Distillery.
Participants heard from the NYC Watershed Agricultural Council about the work they do with farmers to protect water quality in the largest unfiltered municipal watershed in the world. Well-managed farmland is a preferred land use in the watershed, building healthy soils which aid in carbon sequestration and do the work of providing food and filtering rainwater runoff. The diversity of agriculture in our region was also on display during the tour, including farmers of all ages on farms both organic and conventional, producing hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables, and pasture-raised beef. The Legislators heard repeatedly that, while farming is hard work, the biggest challenge for many farms is marketing what they produce. The legislators were also reminded of the important role that farmers, and organizations such as The 607 CSA, play in providing access to food in underserved and economically challenged communities throughout the state.
The Food, Water, & Climate Farm Tour was successful in making some of those connections and initiating important dialogue with Legislators from around the state. Everyone came away with a sincere appreciation for the commitment and hard work of our farmers in building a healthier future for our communities, our economies, and our environment.
The Food, Water, and Climate Farm Tour couldn’t have been made possible without the commitment of the Otsego County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Committee, Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, and financial support from Farm Credit East, and Otsego County. Other partners include Hamden Inn, Cooperstown Distillery, Mel’s at 22, The Magic Kitchen, and the Watershed Agricultural Council. Please acknowledge their role(s) by supporting their businesses.
–CCE Schoharie & Otsego Counties