Funding Provided to 27 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts for 54 Agricultural Water Quality Conservation Projects.
New York, NY - November 27, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $16.8 million has been awarded to support 54 agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state. The funding, which will benefit 131 farms, serves to help farmers with projects that prevent pollution of New York's waterways.
"Agriculture is one of New York's greatest economic drivers, and we will continue to assist farmers across the state as they work to deliver quality products while also conserving our treasured natural resources," Governor Cuomo said. "As the fight against climate change continues, New York is committed to leading the nation in agricultural best-practices that support hardworking farmers and protect the environment."
"It's critical that we ensure our waterways are free of contaminants and safe for all New Yorkers," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This investment for projects on farms statewide will support conservation efforts to enhance and protect water quality. We want to make sure that farmers have the resources they need to prevent pollution and ensure the health and safety of residents."
More than two dozen County Soil and Water Conservation Districts applied on behalf of farmers for the grants awarded through the state's Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. The program serves to award projects that assist with environmental planning or implementing best management practice systems, such as nutrient management through manure storage, vegetative buffers along streams, conservation cover crops and other soil conservation measures.
Round 24 of grants for the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program were awarded to:
North Country: $4,057,532 for 11 projects
Central New York: $3,406,650 for 11 projects
Finger Lakes: $3,013,527 for 13 projects
Western New York: $2,738,209 for six projects
Mohawk Valley: $1,421,801 for seven projects
Capital Region: $893,800 for two projects
Long Island: $663,786 for two projects
Southern Tier: $634,175 for two projects
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "We thank the Governor for his continued support of our farmers and for his leadership in recognizing that New York State's natural resources are among our greatest assets. I congratulate our County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and our partners in the farm community on these awards, which reward thoughtful planning and hard work to ensure the health of New York's waterways, agribusinesses and communities.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Clean water is critical to the health and safety of our communities, as well as New York's economic prosperity. With Governor Cuomo's leadership, and the strong support of County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, these grants will help New York's agricultural community safeguard our water resources and sustain farming operations across the state."
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, "The Nonpoint source grant program is the best example of how New York State, through Governor Cuomo's leadership, is helping farms improve the environment on their farms. With over $16 million in this round, more than 130 farms will receive cost-sharing grants to help those farms implement best management practices. These practices are expensive, and without this cost-sharing help, very few farms could implement them to protect our water, land and air for the generations that follow us."
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "New York's farmers lead the way in environmental sustainability and are committed to protecting the natural resources that their farms and families depend on every day. The new project funding announced today by the Governor will assist in that mission. More farmers will be able to implement best management practices on their farms to help safeguard waterways and improve soil health."
Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, "New York State's hardworking farmers want nothing more than to be good stewards of their land and the environment. These investments will allow them to strengthen those efforts, while also increasing increasing the quality of the farm-fresh foods they are putting on tables across the state. I look forward to seeing how this support enhances agriculture in New York State for years to come."
Senator Thomas O'Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "These are wise state investments to help keep farmers competitive and, at the same time, protect our natural resources for the long run by reducing runoff and erosion which contribute to Harmful Algae Blooms. We're investing in the long-standing and successful partnership between local farmers and local conservation districts to achieve vital economic and environmental quality protection goals."
Assembly Member Bill Magee, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, said, "This important funding benefits both our farms and our communities across the state. It helps to ensure water quality protections and to maintain a clean, safe environment while supporting the farms ability to produce fresh, local food."
Assembly Member Steve Englebright, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation, said, "It is crucial that water quality is considered when determining best management practices on farms, and these grants will help ensure that farmers will be able to do just that. By stewarding lands in this way, we can be sure that natural resources are protected for generations to come. I applaud the Governor for his commitment to this important funding."
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program through its Land and Water Division, which works to protect New York's land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation, and proactive environmental stewardship. The program is managed by the Department in coordination with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee.
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program is funded in the 2017-18 State Budget through the historic $300 million New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Since 1993, New York State has dedicated approximately $193 million to the program. The program functions as part of the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) framework, a broader effort that helps farmers achieve higher levels of environmental stewardship and more efficient, cost-effective farming systems.
County Soil and Water Conservation Districts use the AEM framework to assist interested farmers through several stages of planning and implementation to make science-based and cost-effective decisions. As a result, farmers can meet business goals while conserving the state's natural resources.
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program also builds on the Governor's efforts to provide historic water quality protections across the state through the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which included up to $50 million to implement water quality protection on New York State's livestock farms.