“New York State’s Dairy Transitions Farmland Protection Initiative provides a boost to our farmers at a time when they need it most and ensures that their valuable lands remain used for agriculture for generations to come,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball.
Otter Creek Farm is owned and operated by Brad Wiley, a 6th generation farmer. As part of his exit strategy from dairy, Brad began to cut back his herd size. In 2017, he was milking 20 cows and had another 20 dry cows and heifers. He stopped selling milk in February 2018. The proceeds from the sale of their development rights will help Brad and his partner, Elizabeth, to grow their new farming enterprise. Since 2018, Brad and Elizabeth have converted the primary business to grass-fed beef. They are also raising pigs and chickens, have invested in a unique agri-tourism opportunity, and created a 20-acre chestnut tree orchard.
“For six generations my family has worked with this land to provide a livelihood,” said Brad. “To continue my family’s legacy, I felt it was my responsibility to conserve our farm for future generations.”
“The benefits of conserving this farm extend beyond the land. Otter Creek, a tributary of the Tomhannock Reservoir (the main supply of water to the City of Troy) runs through the property,” said ASA Senior Project Manager Chris Krahling. “Brad and Elizabeth are committed to farming practices that protect soil and water resources which benefit the larger community.”
With the closing of this project, the Agricultural Stewardship Association has helped 155 farm families conserve over 27,000 acres in Rensselaer and Washington counties. ASA was founded in 1990 by local farmers to conserve land and ensure a future for farming and forestry in our region. For more information about ASA’s work, visit www.agstewardship.org.