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Fostering farmers Glynwood's Hudson Valley farm incubator

NEW PALTZ, NY – March 6, 2014 – The agricultural nonprofit Glynwood, in collaboration with the Open Space Institute, has announced the launch of the Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator. The Incubator will provide the tools and resources beginning farmers need to develop and manage viable farm enterprises in the Hudson Valley and will help to lay the foundation for up to 15 new sustainable food and farming businesses over the next five years.
 
"Glynwood and OSI are committed to realizing a thriving regional food system in the Hudson Valley," said Glynwood's President, Kathleen Frith. "The creation of new agricultural enterprises is critical to our success in achieving this goal."
 
The Incubator, which will be operated by Glynwood, is located on one of New York's most iconic landscapes, an 856-acre parcel protected by OSI in 2011 on the eastern escarpment of the Shawangunk Ridge outside of New Paltz. The property includes 534 acres currently managed and being purchased by Mohonk Preserve, alongside two historic farms located on approximately 330 acres of the historic and scenic tract, which will be used as the site of the Incubator. The Incubator will continue the nearly 200-year long history of agriculture on the land and, along with Mohonk Preserve, will protect the scenic views from New Paltz of the Shawangunk Ridge and its forests, fields and cliffs.
 
"We are delighted to partner with Glynwood on this exciting project," said Kim Elliman, OSI's president and CEO. "We are not only incubating the farmers of the future, but honoring the long agricultural history and the legacy of landscape protection of these magnificent lands acquired by OSI."
 
The collaboration between Glynwood and OSI emerged in response to structural challenges facing both land trusts and burgeoning farmers. Land trusts have conserved thousands of acres of farmland in the region that could be brought back into production. At the same time, many new farmers struggle to access affordable land, working capital and business training—issues that are particularly acute for livestock farmers.
 
"I have visited agricultural communities across New York and listened to our farmers' concerns. Efforts like Glynwood's Farm Business Incubator are exactly what we need to directly address many of the challenges our farmers are facing today," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "By supporting new sustainable food and farming businesses, Glynwood's Incubator will be instrumental in strengthening New York's agricultural economy."
 
The Incubator will reduce the barriers to success for new farm businesses by providing access to land, housing, shared equipment, infrastructure, low-interest capital, business mentoring and training in sustainable farming practices. It is designed to provide comprehensive support tailored to the specific needs of farmers operating in the unique agricultural setting and market conditions of the Hudson Valley.
 
The Incubator will work collaboratively with other organizations, farmers and initiatives that hold a common vision for the region, including the neighboring Mohonk Preserve and the Local Economies Project's Hudson Valley Farm Hub, which is set to launch in Ulster County next year.
 
"The establishment of Glynwood's Incubator project in the Mohonk Preserve Foothills creates an opportunity for our organizations to collaborate at the critical nexus of agriculture, education, conservation and recreation," said Glenn Hoagland, Executive Director of Mohonk Preserve. "We look forward to working closely with Glynwood and Incubator participants as neighbors and joint stewards of the land."
 
Glynwood will be accepting applications through June 30th, 2014 from entrepreneurs with a minimum of two years farming experience and a detailed business proposal, with priority given to livestock-focused enterprises. Three applicants will be selected in the fall to develop their businesses at the Incubator. After successfully completing the program, Incubator graduates will be transitioned onto other land in the region (in some cases, land also protected by OSI in the Wallkill and Rondout valleys), ensuring they will have a place to build their businesses independently while also bringing more land into production. More information for potential applicants can be found at www.glynwood.org/incubator.
 
"By fostering new agricultural entrepreneurs and helping them find their own land in the region, Glynwood's Incubator will be a catalyst for attracting new sustainable agricultural businesses," said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. "As a result, New Paltz and Ulster County will increasingly be known as a hub for supporting the future of farming in the Hudson Valley."
 
The Incubator draws upon Glynwood's two decades of collaborative work to advance farming in the region, as well as the organization's significant expertise in sustainable farming practices, particularly in pastured livestock, crop production and soil improvement. Glynwood plans to implement an extensive soil restoration program on the land to revitalize portions of the farmland that have been depleted, in addition to restoring the farmhouses and agricultural infrastructure on the property.

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