Agricultural Stewardship AssociationAgricultural Stewardship Association

Your Impact

Conservation Stories

Since its inception in 1990, ASA has helped landowners protect a variety of working lands throughout Washington and Rensselaer counties.
Collins Family Farm


Crossing the Line to 15,000 Conserved Acres

A Revolutionary War Era Farm on the Hudson River is Conserved Forever

Sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of the Collins' farmhouse in the spring, the smell of freesia, lilacs and roses in intoxicating and the view of the Hudson River is striking. The Saratoga National Battlefield is visible from several vantage points around the farm. These 198 acres have been in farm production since 1739, forty years before Benedict Arnold betrayed the colonists just down the river at West Point. Over time, the farm became a working dairy that remained in operation until the 1960's. Five generations of Jill Collins' ancestors have worked these highly productive flat crop fields and pasturelands for over 100 years. 

The farm is the Perfect Place to Raise Kids

Eight years ago, when Jill and her husband Kevin Collins moved from their suburban home in Saratoga Springs to the family farm, they had two goals. The first was to raise their children with an appreciation for the outdoors. Jill grew up in Greenwich and spent time on the farm as a kid. Kevin fell in love with the farm at first sight. They wanted their kids to know how to hunt, fish, play in streams and catch frogs. As Jill put it, "we love that the kids can run around, play outside and just be kids here - that's how kids should grow up."  Kevin shares that sentiment: "I love the outdoors and everything that living here brings to our family."

Plans to Carry on the Family Farming Tradition

The Collins' second goal was to restore the farm to the best of their ability. The original farmhouse, tavern and horse livery were built in 1739. The tavern was destroyed in a fire and the horse livery was taken down years ago but the Collins are working hard to restore the original farmhouse. The milking parlor equipment was shipped to Jill's cousins in Missouri when the dairy operation ceased but Jill and Kevin have laready converted the milking parlor into an indoor archery range for the kids. With the funds they received in exchange for putting a conservation easement on their land, Jill and Kevin are planning to build a new barn for livestock and make improvements to several existing structures.

Today most of the farmland is rented to another farmer as support land for a local dairy. But there is still plenty of land for the Collins to expand their small herd of goats and sheep, used for fiber and milk, and to carry on the family tradition of farming along the Hudson River.

A Partnership in Conservation

The Open Space Institute (OSI) and the Alfred Z. Solomon Foundation provided the match for the federal funding that made it possible to save this unique Hudson River farm. ASA and OSI co-hold the easement. Without their help, this land could not have been saved for future generations.

"We are grateful to OSI and The Alfred Z. Solomon Foundation for their leadership and funding support. Through collaborative partnerships, we can conserve more fertile farmland in the view shed of the Battlefield." -Teri Ptacek

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