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Touring Farms around Saratoga New York

AALP Class 16 North American Study Tour

By Tanya Stuart on behalf of AALP CLASS 16

The Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program (AALP) Class 16 headed out for their North American Study Tour on Sunday, July 3, 2016. The ten-day tour takes them to Quebec, New York State, Washington DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Jackie Lendrum

Day 4 of the tour found the group in the New York State capital of Albany, where the day began with a breakfast speaker. Jackie Lendrum from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation shared her experiences with water quality regulations and issues primarily with dairy farms in the state. Dairy is the largest agriculture sector in New York State and the largest dairy farm in the state, Willet Farms, has over 9,000 dairy cows.

 

The rest of the day was packed with farm tours around the Saratoga, NY area.  The first stop was the Tiashoke Farm where they milk 1,100 cows and crop 2,200 acres. The name of the farm comes from Iroquois and means "meeting of the waters". Brian, Stuart and Eric, brothers who work on the farm together, toured the group through the barns.

Saratoga Sod FarmsThe next stop was at Saratoga Sod Farms where they have 600 acres of turf and 500 cash crop acres. Their season is driven by customers and weather – they can operate almost year round as long as there is no frost or snow on the ground. They seed once per year in Aug/Sept then harvest 18-24 months later. They may rotate with corn and beans, or continuous crop sod. All harvesting and transportation is done by their own staff and equipment.

Hand Melons

Class 16 continued down the road to Hand Melons where John Hand shared the story of how his “grandpa” started the business and gained brand recognition with the "rich and famous" at the Saratoga horse races. John has since diversified the melon operation, and now grows 6 acres of pick your own strawberries and 2 acres of blueberries, a variety of vegetables, a mail order melon business, as well as operating a farm market.

 

Tim BielloThe group’s final stop of the day was at Tim Biello's farm. Tim, the NY Project Manager & Hudson Valley Farmlink Network Coordinator for the American Farmland Trust, has set a goal to make a living off his farm on which he has a lease-to-own contract. He wants to start with six acres of vegetables and, as he is passionate about horses, he uses heavy horses for much of the field work.

 

AALP Class 16 Finished off the day at the Saratoga Farmer’s Market.

Follow AALP Class 16 by using the hastag #AALP16


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