MADISON CO., N.Y. — Starting a produce farm is not something I ever thought I’d do. But several years ago, my husband and I decided to leave our well-paying jobs to start a small farm so we could learn the land, know where our food comes from and begin a new chapter of our lives. Farming gives each person who tries it, a chance to live deliberately. Living deliberately takes the courage to learn new things, persevere under challenging circumstances and trust in one’s inherent ability to adapt. In a culture where we are often taught that we must ‘go out and get’ what we want, farming reminds us that oftentimes, the best course of action is to simply ‘wait, and see’. I guess you could say farming is ‘counter cultural’. The farmers I know certainly think and see things differently from those who do not farm. This isn’t really a bad thing, it’s just part of the job description when you eke your living off the land.
Of the 423,245 acres that comprise Madison County; nearly all of the land has soils that are either considered prime farmland (e.g. Honeoye silt loam; description can be found here: https://bit.ly/3fAAr4Y) or farmland of statewide importance (e.g. Volusia channery silt loam; description can be found here: https://bit.ly/3q43SRG). Madison County is a great place to farm because of these fantastic soils, consistent rainfall and cold winters. That’s right, cold winters can be a good thing by killing off overwintering insect pests and some vectors of disease. Warmer areas of the U.S. often have to contend with more pest and disease problems than their colder counterparts.
If you’re thinking about purchasing land in Madison County, you can hardly make a better investment. If you choose to farm it yourself now or later, or find someone to farm it for you, that land will be there, whichever scenario you choose. Cornell Cooperative Extension is here to help you with your choice. The Regional Navigator program created by Farmland for a New Generation, helps connect prospective farmers with good farm land. Need to know what kind of soil is on the parcel you’re considering? Contact us. Need to know the indicator species that are on the land? Contact us. An indicator species is a plant that is indicative of a certain environment on a parcel of land. For instance, Phragmites, a common wetland invasive, is an indication of very poorly draining soils. You will rarely (to never) see Phragmites growing on slopes or well drained soils.
Choosing a piece of land doesn’t have to be a blind choice. Call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County and talk with your Regional Navigator contact; Patty Catalano at 315-684-3001 ext. 123. For more information on Farmland for a New Generation and the American Farmland Trust go to: https://nyfarmlandfinder.org/about For a complete soil map of Madison County go to: https://bit.ly/37kBtP5 and zoom in to your area of interest.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Madison County
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