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Amy's Apples Aren't Pretty and She Likes Them That Way

Mulch provides weed control between rows
and erosion control by reducing the raindrop
impact on bare soil

Hepworth Farms
Milton, New York, Ulster County

Hepworth Farms is a 7th generation family owned, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) certified farm. It is located in Milton, New York on the banks of the Hudson River. The farm is owned and operated by Amy Hepworth, Gail Hepworth and Gerry Greco. Long a proponent of growing holistically, Amy has hosted many NOFA twilight meetings and Cornell Cooperative Extension continuing education seminars on her farm.

Growing organic produce is expensive and labor intensive; limiting the practices Amy used on the farm. When she heard about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program - Certified Organic practices she called the Highland Office to get more information. There were several practices that would address environmental concerns on her property and be consistent with her Organic Plan - practices that she would not have been able to adopt without assistance.

One of the practices, shown above, is mulching between the rows of tomatoes on sloping ground. The practice achieved weed control between rows (eliminating cultivation passes and saving fuel and money) and erosion control by reducing the raindrop impact on bare soil. Cover crops is another practice and Amy was able to use different cover crops and multiple species in her mixes. While going over her farm operations with her, it became evident that this farm was an excellent candidate for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) - but that’s a story for another day!

With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers to help plan and implement conservation practices to protect the environment while helping producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations. If you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office.

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