Albany, NY - January 27, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $14 million available to protect soil and water resources on farms across New York State. Funded through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program, the grants will provide support to address water quality challenges on farms in critical watersheds across the State. New York has dedicated $79 million to the program since 2011.
"Farming remains a key part of New York’s economy, and one that is inescapably tied to the continued stewardship and preservation of our environment and natural resources,” said Governor Cuomo. “This funding will ensure that the high quality of water and soil on farms and in communities across the state is preserved and protected for current and future generations of New Yorkers."
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program is funded in the 2016-17 Budget through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, which the Governor proposes to continue in this year’s Executive Budget at $300 million – the highest level in the program’s history. The program complements the Governor’s proposed $2 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which would provide additional funding for source water quality protection initiatives, including projects to ensure proper management and storage of manure on farms across the State.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Our farmers do all they can to be good stewards of their land and remain committed to the environment. This funding will help prevent water pollution, reduce erosion and limit harmful sediments and other nutrients in New York’s waterways, while supporting the growth of the agricultural community. I’m pleased that the Governor has announced additional funding in this year’s budget to continue to support these important projects.”
County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can apply for Round 23 of the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control grant program on behalf of farmers through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets website here. Grants will be awarded to the Districts to help farms with environmental planning; including the implementation of management systems, planting vegetation along streams to intercept runoff, and planting cover crops after the annual harvest to protect the soil.
The program is managed by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. It is a part of the Agricultural Environmental Management framework, a broader effort that helps farmers achieve better water quality and more efficient, cost-effective farming systems. As a result, farmers are able to meet business goals while protecting and conserving the State’s natural resources.
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York farmers are the backbone of communities across the state and a critical part of our growing economy. These funds are yet another example of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to ensure water quality challenges are addressed safely and responsibly and that New York continues to serve as an aggressive leader in environmental protections.”
Senate Agriculture Chair Senator Patty Ritchie said, "Our state's hardworking farmers have a proven track record of being good stewards of the land they use. I am pleased that the Governor and Commissioner Ball recognize the importance of investing in this critical program, which helps farmers protect our soil and waterways as they continue to work to support New York's leading industry."
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Assemblyman Bill Magee said, “This program provides our farmers greater opportunities to produce fresh, top-notch agricultural products without compromising the quality of our vital waterways. It is an important and necessary measure to preserve the integrity of the environment and our natural resources. I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to this effort and his continued support for the State’s agricultural industry.”
Dale Stein, Chair of the NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee, said, “The AgNPS program provides New York State farmers the opportunity to implement projects that greatly benefit soil and water quality. These projects protect and preserve critical natural resources. Continued support of this funding program, as well as, the Environmental Protection Fund is necessary to further our environmental conservation efforts.”
David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President, said, "The AgNPS grants are important to enhancing water quality efforts on farms across the state. The money has proven to be effective in preserving our natural resources, and New York Farm Bureau encourages farmers to work with their county Soil and Water Districts to take advantage of the state funding for environmental projects.”
To apply, all appropriate materials must be submitted through the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee SharePoint website by the deadline of March 31, 2017.
For additional details about this program and other natural resource protection programs, please contact the local County Soil and Water Conservation District. A complete listing of County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can be found here.