Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $13.1 million has been awarded for 42 agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state, benefiting over 120 farms. The funding, provided to 25 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program, supports projects that allow farmers to address water quality challenges in priority watersheds. Together, these projects will work to prevent water pollution, reduce erosion and limit the amount of harmful sediments and other deposits in New York’s waterways. Funding for the program was increased in the FY 2017 Budget to $19 million, which will support future projects.
“Ensuring that New York’s waterways remain pristine is essential to the long-term viability of our booming agricultural industry,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will provide farmers with the resources they need to protect our treasured waters and surrounding communities, and foster sound environmental stewardship while supporting more than 120 farms across the state.”
Through the program, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts apply for the competitive grants on behalf of farmers. Projects awarded receive funding to conduct environmental planning or to implement best management practices, such as agricultural waste storage systems, riparian buffer systems, conservation cover crops and structural soil conservation practices. Since the program began in 1994, more than $125 million has been awarded to 53 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state to help farmers reduce and prevent pollution from agricultural sources.
More than 120 farms across the state will benefit from the 42 funded projects:
- Central NY – $3,529,219.00
- Western NY – $2,428,364.00
- Finger Lakes – $1,897,956.00
- Capital Region – $1,819,881.00
- Mohawk Valley – $1,818,638.00
- Southern Tier – $810,551.00
- North County – $418,424.00
- Mid-Hudson – $337,755.00
A complete list of projects awarded can be found here.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie said, “Our state’s hardworking farmers have a proud history of being good stewards of the land they utilize. “I have been pleased to advocate for increased funding for this important program in the state budget, which will help make it easier for farmers across our state to safeguard the environment as they continue the critically important work they do to support our state’s leading industry.”
Chair of the State Assembly Agriculture Committee, Assemblyman Bill Magee said, “This beneficial funding, administered for important and needed agricultural water protection projects, will help our farms to produce fresh, local food for our families, while protecting the integrity the of waterways and of the environment.”
New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball, “One of New York State’s most valuable natural resources is its water, and through this program, we are helping ensure its health and sustainability for years to come. These projects provide our farmers the ability to implement the best strategies to mitigate potential pollutants and become better stewards of the environment, while continuing to produce fresh, nutritious foods for our communities. By increasing funding for this important program, Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature are taking an important step to further protect our waterways in the future.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “These grants are critical to helping farmers protect and restore our state’s waterways. Through this grant program, New York’s farmers will implement best management practices as conservation-minded stewards to guard our lakes, streams and rivers from environmental degradation.”
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said,“The Environmental Protection Fund provides our state’s agricultural community with the platform to get conservation on the ground and implement innovative best management practice systems. Investing state funds in these conservation systems not only protects the state’s natural resources through effective environmental stewardship, but provides financial support to local economies.”
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program is funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which the state increased to $300 million in 2016-17 State Budget.
The program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. It supports the Agricultural Environmental Management framework, a broader effort that helps farmers achieve better water quality, climate resiliency, and more effective farming systems.
Compliments of Governor Cuomo