Sprout Creek Farm closed abruptly – animals being shipped elsewhere

Sprout Creek Farm is closing.

TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – An abrupt website post on Friday announced the closing of Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie. “After many years of serving the Dutchess County community, Sprout Creek Farm’s Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to suspend Farm operations. Effective Friday, April 17, Sprout Creek Farm will be closed and will no longer offer educational and agricultural programming.”

In a statement on the farm’s website, the board thanked their supporters, saying “We greatly appreciate the community support the Farm has received over the years and the chance we’ve had to be part of the lives of so many children and their families.”

As an independent non-profit organization, Sprout Creek Farm relied on agricultural and educational programming to generate revenue. For several years, the Farm had operating losses and had not generated enough money to independently operate without external financial support. In the current COVID-19 environment the inability to conduct any programming has resulted in significant financial hardship.

Marist College had agreed to assume operational control of the Farm from the Society of the Sacred Heart of USA and Canada, which had determined it no longer wished to support the operational costs.  The Farm would likely have closed as of January 2018, but for the intervention of Marist.

While the Farm remained a separate entity, Marist has served as both an educational partner and means of financial support since January 2018. During this time, Marist had provided funds totaling more than $2.5 million to improve the infrastructure of the Farm through personnel; capital improvements, including a state-of-the-art Creamery; and enhancements to the educational programming.  “Sprout Creek Farm is deeply appreciative of the support Marist College and its community has provided since January 2018,” said a message on the Sprout Creek website.

The challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak exacerbated the financial challenges of Sprout Creek Farm operations and made its business model unsustainable.
Various options for the future of the Farm are still open, including a partnership with external organizations or sale.

If a new owner or entity takes over the operations, any and all of the former functions (education, cheese making, hosted events) of Sprout Creek Farm could be restarted.
The animals at Sprout Creek Farm will all be appropriately and humanely managed during the process of suspension of farm operations, as directed by the capable hands of the farmer and his staff.

From SCF Farm Director, Sean O’Sullivan, it is a priority to Sprout Creek Farmers that all animals are relocated to new homes and given the best care that local farmers can give them. All efforts are being made to ensure that the transitions are accomplished with the emphasis on animal safety, health, and welfare.

Sprout Creek’s land is protected by a conservation easement and any future use would need to operate within those guidelines, which focus on agricultural and educational programming.

Attempts to contact employees of the farm were unsuccessful.  To contact the farm directly, their website is https://sproutcreekfarm.org/contact.

 



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