Funding is Part of Governor's $2.5 Billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act; Program Will Help Large Livestock Farmers Meet New Environmental Requirements.
Albany, NY - September 26, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $50 million in grant funding is available, over three consecutive application rounds, to help New York livestock farms implement water quality protection projects. The funding is a part of the Governor's historic $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which invests unprecedented resources for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and other water quality protection across the state, including funds to ensure proper management and storage of nutrients such as manure on farms. The application period for the first $20 million is currently open and closes November 20, 2017.
"By providing New York's farmers with the resources they need to be successful, we are supporting New York's economy and growing jobs while taking steps to protect the state's vibrant natural resources," said Governor Cuomo. "This funding is critical to ensuring New York's water is preserved and protected while helping farmers across the state to meet environmental standards to secure a cleaner and healthier tomorrow for all."
County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can apply for the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program on behalf of eligible farmers. The maximum award amount per proposal is $385,000, which includes funding for engineering and construction expenses. Grants will help Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation-permitted farms offset the cost of water quality protection projects, such as manure storage construction, site preparation and associated best management practices.
New York State has more than 500 CAFO farms, most of which are dairy farms with 300 or more cows. CAFOs can also include associated livestock operations such as beef, poultry and equine farms. Projects funded will also help farmers meet the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's new environmental requirements first announced in January of this year.
The application and additional information is available on the Department of Agriculture and Markets' website. In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets along with the Department of Environmental Conservation have developed an informational document to educate communities on the importance of manure storage facilities to maintain New York State's environmental standards. The fact sheet can be found here.
Grant awards will be made by December 18, 2017. The Department will launch a second and third application period for an additional $15 million in both 2018 and 2019.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "This first round of funding available is part of the overall $50 million dedicated to water quality protection on farms through Governor Cuomo's bold Clean Water Infrastructure Act. It will help dairy and livestock farms invest in manure management systems needed for optimal nutrient recycling and protection of our natural resources."
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo has established one of the nation's most aggressive environmental agendas that prioritizes protecting water quality across the state. These grants from the historic $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act will help our State's hardworking farm families comply with important standards that safeguard our water quality while ensuring the economic well-being of New York's agricultural community."
New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein said, "This is a great opportunity for CAFO farms to partner with their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to construct and fully implement best management practice systems on their farms. This funding program will assist producers in meeting the State's new environmental regulations, and will further protect the water quality of our lakes, rivers and streams in New York State."
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "The $50 million in grant funding for manure storage will improve environmental stewardship on livestock farms across the state. The cost sharing partnership between farmers and New York State will provide greater flexibility to manage nutrients as farms comply with stricter regulations connected to the new CAFO permits. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the Governor's recognition of the continued need for the funding that will help New York agriculture improve on its strong water quality record."
Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, "Programs like this help ensure the future of New York agriculture, and help our state's hardworking farmers continue to be good stewards of the environment. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball for recognizing the importance of providing farmers with the resources they need to continue to support and grow our state's leading industry while being leaders in environmentally safe practices."
Senator Tom O'Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "New York State's farmers already play a central role in conservation, land stewardship, and water quality protection. This latest state investment will strengthen the ability of our dairy and livestock farmers to better protect critical natural resources. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo and my legislative colleagues to implement the unprecedented Clean Water Infrastructure of 2017 and enhance the environmental future for generations of New Yorkers."
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, "This grant program benefits both our farms and our communities. It helps to ensure water quality protections and the maintenance of a cleaner safer environment while supporting the farm's ability to produce fresh, local food."
The Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 invests a record $2.5 billion in critical water infrastructure across New York State. This historic investment in drinking water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure and source water protection actions will enhance community health and wellness, safeguard the State's most important water resources, and create jobs. Funding for projects will prioritize regional and watershed level solutions, and incentivize consolidation and sharing of water and wastewater services.