Farm advocates welcome to open forum
CowPots and solar panels will be featured Wednesday, March 26 in a free presentation for area farmers at the railroad station in New Milford.
In focus from 7 to 9 p.m. at 11 Railroad Street will be Freund Farm's successful commercialization of CowPots -- biodegradable seeding pots made from processed cow manure residues -- and its use of 550 solar panels, partially funded through a grant, to create enough sustainably generated energy to run an entire 265-cow dairy farm.
Speakers will be Freund Farm's Matt Freund and his daughter, Amanda.
A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.
The event, open to all farmers and farm advocates, has been organized by the New Milford Farmland & Forest Preservation Committee.
A representative of the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service will also speak on what Litchfield County farmers can expect of grant funding opportunities from the new farm bill.
Committee members will seek input from area farmers on how the committee can best support the preservation of surviving working farms and the expansion of sustainable farming in New Milford.
"We are presently working on preserving our fourth and fifth pieces of valuable farmland in New Milford since 2007 with a high proportion of prime agricultural soils," said Steve Kleppin, a part-time Christmas tree farmer and chairman of the commtitee.
"Through the years we have also worked successfully with local farmers on critical farm tax issues," he added, "implemented Litchfield County's first right-to-farm ordinance and on expanding marketing channels for locally grown."
Kleppin reminded there is a lot of work ahead.
"Yet there is still much more we can do," he said. "We'd like to hear from farmers as to what else they would like to see us do."