688.47 ACRES CONSERVED IN TOWN OF SCHAGHTICOKE
This farm is well known for its rich history, quality soils, and scenic beauty, and now has the further distinction of being the largest farmland conservation project in Rensselaer County.
St. Croix is a 688-acre farm in northern Rensselaer County with fertile soils and frontage on the Hoosick River. The farm has a long and colorful history. It began as part of an enormous land grant given to the Van Rensselaer family by the Dutch government. In its current dimensions of roughly a square mile, St. Croix has been in continuous cultivation since the 1780’s under a succession of just four families. The beautiful farmhouse was built in the 1860’s, while the large barns were constructed very early in the 20th century. These structures, now used by the third and fourth generations of the Moore family, stand as testaments to the ongoing productivity of the farm.
Four generations on the land
Ira Moore purchased St. Croix in 1932 when it was a well-established Dairy of Distinction. He continued developing the dairy operation with his sons for over forty years until the decision to disperse the herd was made in 1978. Ira’s youngest son Kenneth then began raising beef cattle and continued producing forage and feed crops. This is the business which Kenneth’s son John Moore continues to operate, and which he hopes to pass on to the fourth generation some day.
In addition to sharing the life and work of the farm, every generation of the Moore family has shared the desire to see St. Croix remain as a family farm. Kenneth Moore’s wife Beverly expressed it this way: “We feel we are caretakers of the land. It is our job to tend it, keep it productive, and keep it intact.” “Selling off lots was just never on the table,” recalled John, referring to his years growing up on the farm and working alongside his father Kenneth and his uncles Charles and Murray Moore. John’s wife Eva said, “Our family’s goal has been to make sure that this land is here for future generations and not lost to development.”
Largest farmland conservation project ever completed in Rensselaer County
When John first heard of agricultural conservation easements and purchase of development rights, he realized that this might be the route by which he could achieve his family’s goals and at the same time provide some security for their farming operations in the future. Assisted first by Rensselaer County’s Bureau of Economic Development and Planning, and later with help from the Town of Schaghticoke and ASA, the Moore family successfully applied for funding through the State’s Farmland Protection program.
Working with ASA was a wonderful experience, according to the Moore family. “We can’t praise them enough,” said Beverly. “They really know their stuff, and they put a lot of work into this.” Eva Moore commented, “People keep congratulating us and thanking us for what we have done in conserving our land, but we are the ones who feel really grateful.”
“The fertile soils of St. Croix currently help to support three different farm businesses, so the benefits of protecting this land are immediately multiplied out into the farming community as a whole,” said ASA’s Executive Director Teri Ptacek. “The conservation of St. Croix is an important step towards securing a viable future for agriculture in Rensselaer County.”
A dream realized
John’s father Kenneth died 14 years ago, but he would have been proud and pleased at this most recent chapter in the history of St. Croix. It is a tribute to him and a fitting legacy of the Moore family’s love for their land that they have now sold the development rights to the entire farm, thus assuring that it will remain forever farmland.