Hudson Valley Quiz

How much do you know about farming in the Valley?




Farm Stand

Historically, the Hudson Valley’s economy was primarily based on agriculture. The region’s rich soils supported a variety of fruit and vegetable production, particularly in Orange and Ulster counties; while dairy and beef farms were sprinkled throughout Columbia, Greene and the other northern counties.

But extensive development in the 20th century has dramatically altered our rural landscape, as many farms have morphed into housing developments and shopping centers. The farm pictured above, a 220-acre cattle farm in Rhinecliff that was once owned by the Astors, is at the center of a huge debate that is played out time and again in the Valley. Developers want to build a residential subdivision; a concerned neighborhood group wants to save the land as open space.

Despite these many issues, farming and agriculture remain a vital resource in the Hudson Valley. At least according to the Glynwood Center, a Cold Spring-based nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the field of community stewardship. Check out these farming facts, all based on a 2005 study by the Glynwood Center — you may be surprised:

 

           As of 2002, there were 3,988 farms in the Valley

           These farms accounted for 659,394 acres, more than 17% of the total land mass

           Between 1987 and 1997, the Valley lost 96,000 acres of farmland

           BUT... between 1997 and 2002 the Valley gained 16,500 acres of farmland

           There is a clear shift away from “food” production — between 1997 and 2002, the Valley lost 463 dairy and beef farms

           The number of horse farms increased by 328 during the same time; 46 sheep and goat farms were also added

So, which Hudson Valley county had the greatest loss of farms between 1997and 2002? And which had the greatest gain? E-mail us at edit@hvmag.com if you think you know both answers. The first person to correctly reply wins a small prize; we’ll reveal the answers next month. ?

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