Hill and Mountain Farming Project to Conduct Farming Survey

Calling All Farmers to Participate in Hilltowns Farming Survey

Rensselaerville, N.Y. — Farmers and farm producers across the Helderberg Hilltowns are encouraged to participate in a farming survey conducted by the Hill and Mountain Farming Project at the Carey Institute. The purpose of the survey is to gather information about our agricultural community, and raise awareness about the project.

The Hill and Mountain Farming Project is a partnership between the Carey Institute’s Sustainable Communities Program and local farmers from across the Hilltowns.  The goal of the project is to support the growth of farming in the area. It will specifically explore practices and products that are best suited to the landscape and help develop infrastructure and markets for the area’s products.

“The Hilltowns are not a prime agricultural landscape as compared to the Hudson Valley or Schoharie Valley” said Rebecca Platel, manager of the Sustainable Communities program. “But, farming is still an important part of our landscape and socio-economic fabric, and the area could play a much greater role in meeting the demands of local and regional markets.”

“While our products might be limited because of the land we have available, we need to capitalize on the fact that much of the land in the Hilltowns has never been subjected to industrial agricultural practices,” said Richard Ronconi, longtime landowner and beekeeper of Partridge Run Apiary in Berne.

The survey will help determine who is farming in the Hilltowns, what people are producing, and the biggest challenges they face in operating their farms. The data collected will help focus the efforts of the Hill & Mountain Farming Project on areas of interest and need. The information will also aid new farmers in making decisions about their operation.

“I’m new to farming and new to the Hilltowns. I don’t come from a family of farmers who’s years of experience I can call upon, so I’ve got two strikes against me when I try to get a foothold for establishing my business,” says Marymichael D’Onofrio of Be Golden Farms in Rensselaerville. “Knowing who else is out there and what farming practices they’ve tried, successful and not, would be invaluable as I make decisions about my operation.”

The survey will be available online, at all local libraries and town halls, or by calling Rebecca Platel at the Carey Institute at (518) 797 5100. Farmers at all stages and scales of production, including start-ups, retired farmers and interested landowners, are encouraged to participate in the survey.

The Carey Institute for Global Good is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 by Wm. Polk Carey and is dedicated to making the world better by contributing to a strong, educated and just society. Through its programs, the Institute strives to bring together innovative and dynamic people from around the world to seek creative solutions to the most pressing challenges of the day.

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