Thursday, December 29, 2011

Inaugural Sullivan County Ag Summit starts a countywide conversation

Jennifer Mall from the Sullivan County Department of Planning and Environmental Management kindly shared a wrap up on last month's Ag Summit. Check out her synopsis below to learn more about the work that's on deck as a result of the event.

The 2011 Agricultural Summit, held on November 28 at the Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center, brought together approximately 200 farmers, agri-business people, agency and organization representatives. The Summit featured an array of local, regional and national speakers, and a series of workshops on various agriculture-related topics. The day’s overarching goals were to identify the biggest challenges facing Sullivan County agriculture and, to identify solutions for overcoming those challenges. Some high-priority solutions included creating a “one-stop shop” for assistance with business planning, funding and financing, and other available resources; fostering collaboration among farmers to prioritize initiatives and leverage political and economic power; focusing on sustainable energy practices; and advocating for agriculture within the political system.

The Summit was a collaborative effort of the County of Sullivan, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Pure Catskills, the Sullivan County Farm Network, Catskill Mountainkeeper, FarmHearts, Sullivan Renaissance, the Sullivan County Economic Development Corporation, SUNY Sullivan, the New York Farm Bureau, and several farms and businesses. As an outcome of the Summit, the Sullivan County Economic Development Corporation has created an agriculture subcommittee, which will build upon this collaboration and work to implement priority initiatives. Together with the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management, the subcommittee will meet in January 2012, to prioritize its work based on the Summit outcomes, and to develop a reporting and feedback system to stay connected with Summit participants and other agriculture stakeholders. For more information on the Summit and next steps, contact the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management at (845) 807-0532.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Farmer Flood Relief Fund opens second application round

Flood relief funding is currently available for Catskill region farmers through the Raise the Roof Donation Fund. Hundreds of community members and a dozen local organizations have contributed over $28,000 since September. These are small grants available to farms that suffered flood damage or product loss during Hurricane Irene and/or Tropical Storm Lee. A first round of $15,000 in funding has been completed. The second round of funding is open between December 15, 2011 and January 15, 2012. Applications may be obtained from the Scholarships & Grants section of the Pure Catskills webpage online at or by contacting Challey Comer at or (607) 865-7090.

The Raise the Roof Donation Fund is managed by a committee of local farmers and community members with administrative support from the Watershed Agricultural Council. Distribution of funding is the decision of the fund committee. Donations toward the fund will be accepted through the remained of 2011. One-hundred percent of donations will be awarded through the fund. Those wishing to contribute are encouraged to mail a tax-deductible donation, made out to the 'Watershed Agricultural Council,' to WAC, 44 West Street, Walton, NY 13856. General inquiries about the fundraising effort may be direct to Morgan George of Sherman Hill Farmstead at (607) 829-6886 or