Key findings show an agricultural landscape in need of infrastructure to support the growth of small and mid-size farmers, and a bright opportunity for innovative, value added products to fuel expanded entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector
Submitted by Glynwood
Glynwood, the Cold-Spring, New York based organization that works to save farming, recently released The State of Agriculture in the Hudson Valley, a detailed report on agriculture in the region based primarily on data from the USDA's most recent Census of Agriculture as well as other reputable regional sources.
"As we work to save farming in our region, we regularly seek out good data that make the case that farming is essential to the region's economy, environment, and landscape of our communities," notes Glynwood President Judith LaBelle. "And yet, most often, we are confronted by a scarcity of regional data. This report was compiled to help fill that gap and has proved to be enlightening."
The big picture reveals that the Hudson Valley, historically an agricultural region, but one faced with intense development pressure in recent decades, is a place where farming endures despite a 10 percent loss of farmland in a five year period, with a corresponding 21 percent increase in the cost of production. Perhaps the greatest impediment to small and mid-size farm viability is the absence of processing and distribution infrastructure necessary for farmers to get their products to market.
The report also documents how the industry is changing as farmers adapt to a shifting economy and different market opportunities. And there are some bright lights on the horizon - the diversity of markets in the region and the region’s close proximity to major urban areas offers lucrative niche opportunities for farmers; the region has a higher than national average direct-to-consumer sales, and the growth of greenmarkets demonstrate that consumer demand for fresh, local food exceeds the current supply.
Innovation and value added product production from regional businesses - like Pampered Cow, a service that links local cheese producers to wholesale and retail vendors - the Farm to Table Co-Packers, a new processing center that works with local farmers to produce value added products like tomato sauce, IQF frozen vegetables and pesto - and the Modular Harvest System™ recently launched by Glynwood, the first mobile slaughterhouse in the US for in-unit processing of large animals - have shown successful ventures like these not only set the stage for expanded entrepreneurship, but also help rebuild the much-needed infrastructure as they do so.
The report is replete with statistics and graphs about the Hudson Valley's farmland, land use and agricultural production. Additionally it breaks down statistics by principal crop production and by county for ease of use. "The colorful graphs, tables and charts fuse the very dry topic of Ag statistics with meaning and help the reader understand trends and patterns in agriculture that hopefully can be reversed - or in other cases strengthened to help make local agriculture more profitable and successful in the coming years," says New York State’s Farmland Protection Specialist John Brennan.
Perhaps most importantly, the report shows the power of food dollars in the Hudson Valley and the potential that farming in this rich region has yet to achieve.
The report is available to download from Glynwood's website; a hardcopy is available by request to email@example.com. For additional information on the State of Agriculture in the Hudson Valley or other Glynwood projects, please contact Geralyn Delaney Graham via email or by telephone at 281-980-6643.
Glynwood is one of the nation’s leading sustainable agriculture and food organizations, with a mission to save farming by strengthening farm communities and regional food systems. Founded in 1995 and located in the Hudson Valley, Glynwood operates its own 225-acre farm, which models sustainable farming practices, conducts science-based soil and pasture restoration, and trains young farmers.
To further its mission, Glynwood conceives and implements community-based programs like Keep Farming®, and tackles infrastructure challenges such as the shortage of slaughterhouse facilities so that small to mid-size farmers can thrive and supply local and regional food systems. Through a national and international network of like-minded professionals and organizations, Glynwood gathers, develops, tests and shares innovative ideas and initiatives from around the world that may be effective in local communities in the Northeast and other regions of the country. In addition, the organization sponsors conferences, educational programs and public events to further a sustainable and robust food system. In 2010, Glynwood founded The Glynwood Institute as an incubator for ideas and action, a "creative action-tank" that develops and promotes realistic solutions to critical issues within the food system.
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