We recognize Hal Bain of Sunset Farm for the 2022 Agricultural Environmental Management Program Farm of the Year Award. Hal started Sunset Farm in 2008 and began working with the District in 2014. He initially began by joining the Agricultural Environmental Management Program, to learn more about soil health practices and pursue his passion for farming.
The existing farmstand at Sunset Farm has been selling produce since 1928 to the residence of Ridge Road. The idea of establishing Sunset Farm was to ensure that the property stayed a farm and provide locally grown produce to restaurants and the community. Since 2008, Sunset Farm has expanded in many ways- for example, Hal installed 30x90ft high tunnel to extend growing to year-round and has almost doubled his outside plots to keep up with demand.
While participating in our AEM program, Hal has implemented multiple soil health practices such as soil testing, mulching, composting, reduced tillage, cover cropping, and tarping to reduce soil disturbance and cultivation for weeds. Implementing these practices has made Sunset Farm into a viable model for many other small-scale growers in the Warren County area.
In addition to Hal’s passion for the farm, he also supports others throughout the community. He volunteers at Glens Falls Elementary Schools, donates products to the WAIT House for homeless youth, presented for our Farm Talks Series, and offers farm internships (I’m sure I’m missing many more àit seems like every time we meet with Hal he’s about to head out and volunteer somewhere). In more ways than one, Hal helps to build a better and healthier community around him every day. He readily allows his farm to be utilized in the SUNY Adirondack Agricultural Program, as a case study, he is continuously asking pertinent-goal oriented questions and implements AEM recommendations for better production and conservation. Not only is Hal building a better community, he is creating local sustainability for future generations in our area and telling a story of what energy, passion and effort can due to conserve and enhance local agriculture.