Sprout Creek Farm Board Update - May 11, 2020
On behalf of the many employees, volunteers, former students, campers, and friends that comprise the Sprout Creek Farm community, we write to express our sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support and assistance over the past weeks.
We are pleased to share that all animals have been relocated to reputable farms and sanctuaries across the Hudson Valley whose missions align with our own. It is heartening to know that in times of uncertainty, our community was still able to come together in support of this important mission.
We are grateful for the many individuals and organizations that reached out with offers of assistance. Please know that we appreciate your continued interest in and support for Sprout Creek Farm. We have been honored to have a place in the Dutchess County community.
Sprout Creek Farm Board of Directors
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 today, Sprout Creek Farm will be closed and will no longer offer educational and agricultural programming.
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.
Why is the Farm closing?
As an independent non-profit organization, Sprout Creek Farm relies on agricultural and educational programming to generate revenue. For several years, the Farm has had operating losses and has 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 a significant financial hardship.
What was Marist’s role over the past two years?
Marist 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 the College.
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 has 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.
The challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak have only 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 partnership with external organizations or sale.
What will happen to the Farm’s operations?
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 our farmer and his staff. We have always operated this way at Sprout Creek Farm.
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. We have taken great pride ensuring that the animals have been very well looked after and that the care and attention we have given them will continue."
What will happen to the land?
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.
Will another entity take over the Farm?
Various options for the future of the Farm remain open, including partnership with external organizations or sale.
What will happen to the animals?
From SCF Farm Director, Sean O'Sullivan, "As farm director, my plan is to relocate all animals to other farms, they are not being sent to slaughter. While we respect people’s opinions about the management of our animals, Sprout Creek Farm has a long and distinguished history of excellent animal care. This process will be no different.”
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