CHATHAM — Farming can be difficult under the best of circumstances, and issues like climate change, natural disasters, and interpersonal conflict can add significant additional challenges. The Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC), the Dutchess Land Conservancy (DLC) and American Farmland Trust (AFT) team up each fall to host a series of educational workshops as part of their Farmer-Landowner Match Program the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network. This year, Down to Earth Workshop Series topics include an introduction to the farmland leasing program, business loans, crop insurance, agricultural mediation, and farming with climate change.
The first workshop “Intro to the Farmer-Landowner Match Program and How to Finance Farming” will take place 5-8:30 p.m. Oct.11 at Camphill Hudson, 360 Warren St., Hudson. The evening will begin with a presentation on the Farmer-Landowner Match Program and how participants can use this program to accomplish their leasing goals. Then service providers from the Farm Service Agency and Farm Credit East will discuss several USDA programs designed to help farmers begin or grow their farm operations as well as financing options through other loan providers. Farmers will join the program to discuss their own experiences with financing their farm businesses.
The second workshop, “Protecting Your Farm from Crop Loss: Planning and Risk Management” will take place 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Camphill Hudson, 360 Warren St., Hudson. This two-hour workshop will explore both foreseeable and unforeseeable situations that challenge most farmers such as natural disasters, crop loss and drops in market prices for commodity goods. Without the right kind and amount of crop insurance and appropriate planning, one major storm can undermine a farm lease leaving farmers out of business and landowners with fallow fields. A panel of farmers and service providers will offer real world examples of what can go wrong even when farmers do everything right and how crop insurance can stabilize a farm’s revenue.
The third workshop, “Finding Your Way Through Conflict: Agricultural Mediation Programs” will take place 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at Camphill Hudson, 360 Warren St., Hudson. Often what begins as a small issue between a landowner and a farmer can cause a breakdown in communication and lead to bigger problems like the end of a farm lease and costly legal fees that leave everybody feeling as though they lost. In this workshop, we will try to understand some of the common causes for conflicts between landowners and farmers, and will look at simple ways to avoid breakdowns in communication. We will also explore the NYS Agricultural Mediation program to resolve issues before they reach a breaking point.
The fourth workshop, “Climate Change and Farming in the Hudson Valley” will take place 2-4 p.m. Nov. 4 at The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, 2801 Sharon Turnpike, Millbrook. It’s no secret that farmers rely on predictable weather for planting corn, choosing when to harvest hay and just about everything else that gets farm products from field to market. Climate change is affecting the region’s growing season, water conditions and pest pressures. This workshop will look at how climate changing is impacting our local farms and at federal emergency conservation programs designed to help farmers affected by natural disasters and severe drought.
Registration for all the above workshops can be completed at clcctrust.org/events/. Contact Terence Duvall with questions at 518-392-5252 ext. 225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of the Down to Earth workshops are offered free of charge. Snacks and drinks will be provided. These workshops are funded in part by a USDA educational grant and hosted in collaboration with the Farm Service Agency.