Banner Land Leasing Pt. 1

For Farmers: Discover methods for finding land, land assessments and much more!


Farmland Access and Leasing 101 for Farmers and Landowners PART 1: Farm Leasing for Farmers

  • Monday, April 15, 2024, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
 This is the first class in a 3 part series addressing the process of farmland access from the perspective of the farmer, the landowner, and to address the legal aspects of creating appropriate leases for each farm. Part 1 is a class for farmers to discover methods for finding land, land assessments, buying versus leasing, financial planning, agricultural evaluations, and zoning rules with our speakers. Afterward, hear from farmers who own and lease land discuss their personal experiences.

Registration is required.


Melinda Meddaugh - Agriculture & Food Systems Issue Leader 

Melinda has worked in the Ag & Food Systems program at CCESC since 2014. Her primary focus is farmland preservation and economic development programming. She works closely with the Sullivan County Department of Planning and Community Development on implementing the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. Melinda attended Monticello High School and is a graduate of SUNY Sullivan, SUNY Purchase, and Vermont Law School where she earned her master’s degree in environmental law and policy. Melinda is a co-founder of the Rock Hill Farmers’ Market, secretary of the Rock Hill Business & Community Association, and a Town of Thompson Council member. She has also volunteered with the Rock Hill Fire Department and previously served on the Town of Thompson Planning Board.

Michelle Procsia - Agriculture Production Program Manager 

Michelle Proscia has been an agriculture educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County since 2013. Michelle grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA where she earned a BS in large animal science. In her role at CCE Sullivan, Michelle delivers educational workshops, and offers training and technical assistance to farmers, producers, and consumers in the areas of agricultural production practices, farm and food safety, and farm management practices.

Michelle is a certified Beef Quality Assurance trainer, Produce Safety Alliance Trainer, Licensed NYS Pesticide Technician, and FAMACHA trainer.

Farmer panelists: 

Erika Malmgreen & Kent Findley - Winteron Farms

Erika and Kent, the dedicated couple steering Winterton Farms, both hail from the region, their profound connection to the land and its people igniting their fervor for farming. Juggling the responsibilities of their family farm alongside their two young children who frolic across their 32 acres, and with two older children pursuing studies at college, their commitment to their land and family is unwavering. Erika, deeply ingrained in Sullivan County as a lifelong resident, channels her passion for nature and creativity into the farm's handcrafted product line, while also serving as Chairwoman of the Sullivan County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board, actively shaping local initiatives. Kent, armed with a degree in Physics and mathematics from SUNY Albany, returned to Sullivan County to infuse the farm with his expertise. Engaging with community affairs, Kent's involvement on the Mamakating Zoning Board of Appeals contributes to local governance and development. United in their vision, Erika and Kent lead Winterton Farms' expansion endeavors, propelling innovative projects like high tunnels, irrigation ponds, and a brewery. Their collective vision not only propels the farm's growth but also pledges to enrich the community with fresh produce, artisanal goods, and opportunities for camaraderie amidst the scenic landscapes of the Catskills.

Kamra Hakim - Forest Fringe Farm 

Kamra is an autodidact audio composer and entrepreneur. Raised in the dry desert now living between the Western Catskill Mountains and Toronto, Kamra owns and operates a small-scare farm. Kamra is the author of Care Manual, a workbook pulling up fixed notions of consent, harm, care, and pleasure from their roots and Care Ecology, a newsletter attempting embodied awareness through personal essays.

Kamra curates and hosts Activation Residency, a satellite artist residency known for its restorative programming, in collaboration with other artists and facilitators. Kamra formed Activation Cooperative Fund to support working artists through the pandemic.

Kamra has hosted and produced an online television series to connect with artists through the pandemic, consults for feminist organizations, and has presented their book at Dia Chelsea and Brooklyn Museum. Kamra co-produced their record, Verdant Banks, and shot a music video for their lead single “Hear My No”. Their second record is set to receive label representation.

Forest Fringe Farm is a flourishing art farm on an 8-acre parcel in Bethel, NY, conveniently located 90 minutes from New York City and just 10 minutes from Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. As artists and community organizers, our goal is to inspire and nurture the people in our lives. At Forest Fringe we aim to harness our rebellious energy to build a sustainable food producing farm that can also serve as a soft landing for anyone needing to escape the city. Whether that is a family in need of fresh produce or a musician looking to work on an album.

Activation Residency, Forest Fringe Farm’s sibling project, is a satellite artist residency known for its restorative programming. Since launching in 2018 we have facilitated five residencies, bringing together artists from all over the world to share, heal and create. Activation Residency is the seed that has allowed us to invest in a property expanding the scope of our programming and services.

Since acquiring the property in 2022, we have been focusing on building three distinct but mutually reinforcing revenue streams. Constructing a communal facility will be vital to ensuring we can run programming for intimate groups. We would like to expand beyond the scope of the artist residencies to offer a range of programming including yoga retreats, music festivals and recording sessions.

In 2023 we invested in infrastructure for our farm including a driveway, out-toilet, and 16' by 9' cabin. This spring we plan to build and cultivate a .25 acre market garden. We will establish a market for our produce by coupling our food shares with on-farm events. We will grow heirloom bunching onions, black cherry tomatoes, arugula, spinach, basil, cilantro, lettuce, and much more.

Melissa Phillips - Hidden Acre Farm

Melissa, a first generation farmer, started Hidden Acre Farm in 2019 with her husband Jack. From London, she had her eyes opened to the damage caused by industrial farming practices during a master's in Sustainable Studies. Passionate about small scale, sustainable agriculture and the potential it has for climate and local economy resilience, Melissa enjoys stewarding their 3 leased acres with soil health and health of the surrounding environment at the center of every decision. Hidden Acre Farm is a certified organic vegetable and flower farm, where Melissa heads up the flowers. They sell at three weekend farmers markets (Carroll Gardens Greenmarket, Barryville and Brownsville Farmers Market), have a full and part-time team of 5 folks, with plans to hire two more for the 2024 season.

Part 2: Farm Leasing Basics for Landowners

Part 3: Legal Considerations 

This program is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture award #2022-06508, through the American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Investment Program.Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County provides equal program and employment opportunities. The public can contact the office to request accommodations.





Haley Collins
Agriculture Farmland Protection & Planning Program Manager
845-292-6180 ext. 131


Extension Education Center
64 Ferndale-Loomis Road
Liberty, New York 12754

Last updated April 11, 2024