Caora Farm in North East has been preserved for the future thanks to help from Dutchess County and a partnership with several local and state agencies, according to Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro.
The county contributed $69,300 for the purchase of an agricultural conservation easement on the 78.5-acre farm in perpetuity. The purchase was a partnership with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Scenic Hudson Land Trust and the Dutchess Land Conservancy.
“Caora Farm is a prime example of what makes Dutchess County such a special place for all who live and visit here," said County Executive Molinaro. "The farmers are focused on economic growth and investment, and our Partnership for Manageable Growth program provides critical assistance, preserving farmlands to ensure agriculture remains a vital economic engine in our county. This process will ensure Dutchess County’s rich farming tradition for years to come.”
The property is home to a woman-owned and operated diversified sheep farm. Kathleen Weathers and Michele Ferraro own and operate Caora Farm and are committed to sustainable, small-scale farming and community engagement.
The farm has been expanding each year, with its wool products sold locally and regionally. The farmers actively seek novel markets for their wool, such as for housing insulation and creating pressed felt products. Caora Farm is also part of the scenic viewshed visible from the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.
Working sheepdogs are a significant component of the Caora Farm operation; annually, Caora Farm hosts a three-day sheep-dog trials competition, which is open to the public at no cost.
“We are infinitely pleased that Caora Farm will remain in agriculture in perpetuity. Preserving farmland is one of the greatest things that we can do for future generations," said Ferraro and Weathers. "We have both lived and worked in Dutchess County for three decades so it is even more meaningful. This is such a rich and special landscape, embedded in a community that cares. We are delighted.”
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