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Anthony Mecca
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Farming and Land Lease Opp in NY's Hudson Valley

Overview
The owners of 87 acres in Red Hook, NY are offering a farmland lease opportunity to (a) farmer(s) interested in carrying Great Song Farm forward in its current set-up as a 75 member vegetable CSA and/or in developing other agricultural enterprises on the land. The current farmers and owners of the business entity, Great Song Farm, are moving on after eight great seasons growing biodynamic vegetables, to pursue other opportunities in farmer education. The landowners expect the new farmers to begin in the 2019 growing season.

The landowners are motivated to find a new farmer and are eager to work creatively with the right farmer(s) to help create a productive and profitable venture at Great Song Farm. The future farmer(s) would not need to continue the vegetable CSA in its current form, but could carry the farm forward in a different form, for example – selling to restaurants, selling to off-site CSA-members, growing for farmers markets, growing herbs and flowers, pasturing animals, growing specialty vegetable crops, etc.

Apply Online (rolling application process)

History
Great Song Farm (GSF) has worked to create a community farm based around a CSA supplying fresh vegetables to 75 families (began with 50 members, has been as high as 115 members) through the summer and 30 through the winter over the last eight seasons. GSF has grown 2.5 acres of vegetables, herbs and flowers in a minimal to no-till, bio-intensive permanent bed with living pathway system using mostly hand tools, focusing on building soil health through biodynamic, organic and sustainable practices and the integration of a cow herd, chickens and an apiary as part of the farm organism. A cow herd has grazed the pastures and provided manure. GSF has created its own compost from the cow manure as the basis for fertility. Both the current farmers and landowners live on the land in a one-bedroom apartment and a separate house, respectively.

Landbase
87 acres: 2.5 acres of current vegetable cultivation (more land could be cultivated, up to 5 or 6 acres), 20 acres of pasture, 4 acres of wetland and 59 acres in mixed forest. The land is constituted by a nice mix of silt loam soil categorized as farmland of statewide importance (Dutchess Cardigan Complex and Georgia). The terrain is flat to rolling. Strong water source of 20+ gallons per minute available for irrigation and washing. There are 3 streams that run on the farm, one is usually year round and the other 2 seasonal. The land is held under a conservation easement to preserve it from development and allow it to stay farmland into the future.

Business Ownership
The legal business entity, Great Song Farm (currently a legal partnership between the farmer and his partner), will remain with the farmland and will be purchased by and transferred to the next farmer who leases the farm. The business name, customers, website, email, and any other like entities bearing relation to Great Song Farm will be transferred to the new owner. GSF has built up a loyal membership base over the last eight years, along with name recognition from quality vegetables and community events offered on the farm each year. The current farmers are willing to support a smooth transition as needed.

Major assets including deer fencing of (1) 3 acre plot (1600 linear feet perimeter) and (1) 4 acre plot (1750 linear feet perimeter) with 7.5 foot tall Tenax Heavy Duty Poly Deer Fence, (1) 17’ x 96’ Gothic Greenhouse, and (1) 17’ x 48’ Gothic Greenhouse will be sold to the new farmer at reduced rates. The price for the business and major assets listed above is $10,000.

Farm Equipment
Any movable assets used in farm production such as tractors and other equipment and tools will also be sold during this transition, as well as our beloved herd of cows. The new farmer would have first option to buy any of these movable assets that are still available once they have signed a lease agreement.

Lease Agreement Details
The landowners are supportive and are willing to offer flexible lease terms on lease length to the selected candidate. After an initial lease of several years the landowners are interested in exploring the possibilities of a long-term lease with the right partnering farmer(s). The farmland lease will be offered at a graduated fee to support the growth of the farm ($350/month for the first two years and $600/month after that).

Lessee is responsible for meeting the requirements of an agricultural tax assessment - grossing $10k annually is the major requirement, see here for full disclosure - https://www.tax.ny.gov/research/property/assess/valuation/ag_overview.htm

Housing and Other Buildings
Farmer housing will likely be available in the form of a one-bedroom apartment with a landline and internet at a discounted rental rate for the farmer during the life of the lease term. Propane for heating and cooking and electric are paid for by the tenant.

In addition, there is a 12’ x 16’ cabin available for farm worker/apprentice/intern/WOOFer housing as well as a separate 12’ x 25’ shared community living space equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and wireless internet. Additional farm spaces include: a 50’ x 30’ two-story barn with ample upstairs space for storage (currently winter hay for the cows) and downstairs root cellar, storage and indoor space for the cows or other animals accessible to them in the winter months; an unfinished 12’ x 25’ mudroom, a small furnace room with some space for winterized storage, and a 50’ x 20’ foot farm shed with three partitioned spaces currently used for 1) a workshop 2) storage and 3) CSA pick-up shed.

Required Qualifications
Minimum of 3-5 years past farming and gardening experience though the right individual(s) with less experience will be considered.
Commitment to environmentally responsible (organic, sustainable, non-chemical) diversified agricultural practices.
Strong management and people skills.
Ability to respond to unexpected situations with maturity, patience and flexibility.
Great Song Farm is drug and smoke-free environment.

Additional Qualifications
Interest in building community around healthy food and sustainable food; working with volunteers and willingness to teach others.
Individuals working with biodynamic agriculture are especially encouraged to apply.
Previous experience running a business, marketing skills (social media savvy), etc. a plus.

Apply Online (rolling application process)

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