Farmers who switch to organic face strict rules, costs, red tape – Times Union

By Madeline St. Amour | April 26, 2015

As a cardiorespiratory therapist in an intensive care unit and later as a nutritionist, Pamela Schreiber saw many people with grave ailments. Working in rehabilitation, she helped long-term smokers, asthmatics, people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and postoperative cardiac surgery patients.

“I worked with people who hadn’t taken care of themselves their whole lives through smoking or poor diet,” she said.

After doing a lot of research, and with no previous experience, she exited the conventional working world to start a farm. She left health care, she said, because she saw so little being done to prevent health problems before they started.

“Healthy food will keep us healthy,” she said.

Now, she owns Eight Mile Creek Farm in Westerlo, running it with her daughter and an intern. She raises cows, chickens, pigs and horses, and grows more than 30 kinds of vegetables.

When looking around at the rolling hills, squealing pigs and wide-open space, the attraction of organic farming is easy to see. But being an organic farmer isn’t as simple as enjoying a romanticized landscape. The process is cumbersome, the upkeep expensive and the profits minimal, she said.

Despite the challenges of going organic -— the transition time, the added costs, the longer maturing time — more farmers are making the switch.

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