Signature Field Trip – Rensselaer Farms

In October a group of students visited two farms in Rensselaer county to learn about land and farm conservation by the Agricultural Stewardship Alliance.

The first farm featured organic farms and animals, situated in the beautiful town of Brunswick. After an overview of the work by ASA, we visited some turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving, some pet cows, and greenhouses for growing vegetables and a new type of bean crop. Our hosts shared their philosophy of farming, and maintaining the farm for future generations.

Two weeks after our visit we learned that the farm secured funds to become officially conserved land – go ASA and NY State!

Next we visited a dairy farm up in the hills that was surprisingly futuristic. To save on labor and improve efficiency, this farm installed a few robots to milk their cows. We were amazed to learn about the robots and their “free choice”. Thanks to identification collars and some computational analysis, cows walked into a milking stall when they felt the need to be milked. The robotic stall cleaned their teats and pumped their milk in an efficient way, while giving the cows a tasty treat. Some cows try to get lots of treats, but the computer knows better and ejects them without food and without milking. CHECK OUT THE VIDEO!

The dairy farm was already conserved with the help of ASA.

The girls learned quite a bit about land development, conservation and the ways of farming on this beautiful fall day. Some may be inspired to develop a Signature project all about these important local issues.

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