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.

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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

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•           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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