Call for Farmers
137 Acres in Columbia County, NY
Long-Term Lease with Purchase Option

Dirt Capital Partners is seeking experienced farmers interested in a long-term lease with a purchase option on a 137 acres of flat, prime farmland in Livingston, NY.  

The farm is ideal for a pasture-based livestock or diversified operation, with the possibility for high-value vegetable production on 30 acres of well-drained Unadilla silt loam.

Niche and value-added operations with high growth potential – specialized grains, value-added meat or dairy, hop or malt production, etc. – are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Formerly a dairy until 2006, the farm has several barns and sheds, some quite large, that can be used to house livestock, for storage, or modified for most types of value-added production. A spring-fed creek in the center of the property provides ample year-round water supply.

The property is well located for direct to consumer sales locally and into the New York metro area – near the towns of Hudson, Red Hook and Rhinebeck, and 100 miles north of New York City. 

Applicants should have three or more years experience managing a successful farm business. Preference will be given to an operation that can take management of the property in spring 2014, but we would consider working with a farmer who is not able to use the farm until later in 2014 or early 2015. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply in early 2014, even if not able to use the land right away. The application will remain open until a farmer is selected.

This opportunity is part of a mission to provide secure long-term land access and opportunities for farm ownership to small and mid-sized working farmers in the Northeast United States. The partnership arrangement with Dirt Capital is flexible and will be tailored to the goals and capabilities of the individual farm operation.

Property Summary

  • Located at 412 Cold Spring Rd, 100 miles north of New York City and 10 miles south of Hudson, NY.
  • 137 acres prime farmland, 130 acres of which are tillable. The land is extraordinarily flat, with ample on-farm water for irrigation. Includes a 7-acre farmstead complex with a spring-fed creek in the center of the farm that provides excellent year-round water flow.
  • The farm was recently acquired by Dirt Capital. Previously, it had been in conventional corn and soybean rotation since 2006. Prior to that, from 1970-2006, it was an active conventional dairy milking 90 cows, during which time most of the acreage produced hay and corn for the dairy operation.
  • Prime soils include:
    • Unadilla Silt Loam, approximately 30 acres. On the southeast side of the farmstead. Well-drained, ideal for row crops or vegetables.
    • Niagara Silt Loam, approximately 80 acres. On the northwest side of the creek and farmstead. Suited for pasture, hay or some row crops.

Existing Farm Outbuildings

Several existing outbuildings are in good structural condition but will need renovation and modification to suit any new farm operation. Dirt Capital is willing to provide capital for permanent facilities upgrades.

Current buildings listed below. Pictures available online.

  • Main dairy barn constructed in three parts:
    • 30 ft x 65 ft, 2-story cow barn with 40 ft tall hay-loft built in 1920.
    • 30 ft x 60 ft, 2-story extension built in 1940.
    • 180 ft by 40 ft milking barn connected to main barn, with 90 tie stalls, built in 1971. A few tie stalls have been removed, but most are still in place.
  • Large, 4-bay tractor shed opposite the milking barn; several smaller barns and sheds spread around the main driveway currently used for hay storage or horses; two concrete bunker silos stand next to original cow barn, currently empty. 
  • No perimeter fencing currently. Fencing around the cow byre in the center of the property, north of the main barn.

Housing

There is currently no permanent residence on the 137 acres. Dirt Capital will consider providing capital for temporary and/or long-term accommodations on the site, should the farmer desire. Options include:

  • The conservation easement allows for construction of a home within the 7-acre farmstead area.
  • The former farmhouse still exists and is owned separately on the adjacent 5-acre parcel and is currently vacant. The house needs renovation, and if desired, may be purchased separately or in partnership with Dirt Capital (subject to negotiations with current owner).
  • A mobile home can be placed on the concrete padding for temporary housing until a new farmhouse is built or the adjacent property is acquired. 

Application Process

Dirt Capital Partners seeks to work with experienced farmers who require additional land access or improved land security to grow an already successful farm business.

Applications will be ranked based on the following considerations:

  1. Strength of existing farm business and capacity to grow operation on farm in Livingston, NY.
  2. Training and technical farming knowledge and expertise.
  3. Commitment to environmentally responsible farming practices.
  4. Personal integrity.

All applicants meeting basic criteria will be contacted for further discussion about their farm operation, land, and opportunities for partnership on this or other land parcels. The most qualified applicants will be asked to prepare a detailed business plan for the property and meet for an in-person interview.

We encourage multi-party applicants with complementary farm operations who would jointly use the property. An example would be a combination of vegetable and livestock. If your business is focused primarily on just one of these, please consider applying with a complementary operation and/or noting in your application that you would be open to partnering with another applicant who has a complementary business.

Additional Information and Opportunities

The immediately adjacent farm to the north, across Cold Spring Road, is part of a 2,000-acre+ organic transition project that plans to provide non-GMO and pesticide-free livestock feed, grain seed, and cover crop seed to small and midsize farmers in the region, starting in 2014. The farmer managing this transition can be available for contact on request.

Eurial, a French goat dairy cooperative and one of the largest in the world, recently built its main US processing facility 3 miles from this farm, on Route 9 in Livingston. Couturier is the US division of Eurial. They are currently importing frozen goat curd from France, but have plans to begin sourcing from local farmers. Interested goat farmers should contact Eurial directly: http://www.couturierna.com/contact-us/.

Hawthorne Valley Farm, a 400-acre diversified biodynamic farm, is seeking to purchase local fluid cow milk for its value-added dairy products. Interested biodynamic farmers should contact Hawthorne Valley Farm directly for details.

Glynwood’s Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator is launching in 2014. Technical assistance programming offered to incubator participants will be available to the farmer(s) selected for this farm property as well.

The Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation’s “Incubator Without Walls” is available to provide technical assistance, with cost sharing for farmers through the Farm Hub programming by the Local Economics Project of the New World Foundation.

Several additional farmer technical assistance, training and loan programs are available through local organizations such as: Cornell Cooperative Extension, Northeast Farmland Access, The Carrot Project, Farm Credit East, and others.

The farm was recently conserved by the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, as part of its farmland preservation program, which strategically protects significant corridors of farmland in the Hudson Valley, enabling small family farms to remain viable and securing the region’s food supply. More information can be found in their recent report, “Securing Fresh, Local Food for New York City and the Hudson Valley”.