Featured Farm Profile: Sweet-Sherman Homestead

Sweet-Sherman Homestead

Could you tell us a little bit about your farm or farmland?  

The circa 1845 Sweet-Sherman Homestead is listed in the State and National Register of Historic Places. It was the residential and working center of the original 240-acre family farm and today is comprised of 14-acres of prime farm and pasture land, a large Greek Revival farmhouse, functionally related outbuildings and historic yards, with scenic views in rural Copake, NY. 
 
The entire 14-acres of farmland will be available for use by the farmer-partner. The 7-acre north pasture is surrounded by a 4’ high fence, long used for sheep grazing, and has separate road access. The 7-acre production field is prime farmland. It has had 2-years of organic cover cropping, has no deer fence, no well, and one small historic outbuilding that could be available for farmer’s short-term use before it is restored. There is a possibility for on-site farmer housing. The farmer-partner would be given a favorable long-term lease in exchange for investing in needed infrastructure and building a successful farm operation. The 2-acre farmhouse compound will be operated by the Owner. The property is zoned rural residential-agricultural with special permit use for agri-tourism. It is situated midway between Hudson, NY and the Berkshires, and is well-suited for both farming and farm-related uses such as farm-stays, farm-to-table dining, farm-related small industry, farm store, demonstration site and much more. 

What type of arrangement are you looking to make with a farmer? 

I am looking for a farmer-partner with whom to implement a cooperative management model in eastern Columbia County. The site is suitable for growing heritage crops, and/or agroforestry practices like sheep silvopasture with nut trees. The goal would be to reclaim the historic property to achieve its full agricultural, ecological, cultural, and commercial potential. 
 
The farmer-partner will have access for a long-term lease for 14-acres of farmland upon which to build a successful farm business. They would be responsible for maintaining the property’s Agricultural Assessment and would bring the resources needed to build infrastructure for their business. A historic outbuilding could be available for use for 1-2 years while the farmer installs their infrastructure. I am interested in exploring a conservation easement with the farmer to keep the land in agriculture. I intend to transfer/sell ownership of the property within the next 5-10 years. 

Do you have any personal goals for making your land available for farming? 

My personal goal is to reclaim the land in partnership with a farmer who practices regenerative farming to improve soils, and supports biodiverse landscapes to create a healthy ecosystem for the benefit of pollinators and all of life. 
 
The Owner will rehabilitate and operate the 2-acre historic farmhouse compound as a source for rental and future agritourism revenue to contribute to financial sustainability. Over time, I see an opportunity to work with the farmer-partner or others to host agritourism activities such as seasonal farm stores, farm-to-table dining, education workshops, pop-up events and more that engages the public. 

Is there anything else you would like for a farmer to know about you or your land? 

The Sweet-Sherman Homestead endured for three generations as one of Copake’s original family farms (1845-1923). Built in circa 1845 by Fyler D. Sweet and Dorothea Sweet as a diversified farm, in 1888 the farm was carried on by grandson Frank Sherman (1866-1938) who developed it into a successful dairy farm. Sherman was also a local Progressive Era leader, a founding member the Copake Grange, and leader in the local Farm Bureau and Dairymen’s League Cooperative, organizations that were pioneers in promoting the development of cooperative principles in agriculture. 
 
My profession is designer and architect with expertise in the rehabilitation of historic properties. My vision for this property is grounded in reviving vernacular knowledge and heritage practices for creating future sustainability. 

For more information on Sweet-Sherman Homestead go to: here

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