45 Projects Awarded Across Five Counties to Help Increase Agricultural Production and Enhance Environmental Protections
Grants Advance Southern Tier Soaring - Region's Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $3.6 million has been awarded to 45 farms through round two of the Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Program. The program helps farmers and agribusinesses expand and improve their operations, while promoting the responsible use and protection of the state's natural resources. Funding was awarded to projects in Broome, Cattaraugus, Chenango, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins counties. The program and its support of agriculture is a major component of Southern Tier Soaring, the region's blueprint for economic growth.
"These grants provide farms the support they need to help expand the region's agricultural industry and protect New York's natural resources," Governor Cuomo said. "By providing critical funding to advance strategic projects that develop local farms and boost the Southern Tier's economy, New York is investing in the future of this critically important sector, helping this region to soar."
Eligible applicants received up to $100,000 for projects to help increase farm production and profitability and better protect or enhance natural resources. The funding will be used for costs associated with construction, renovation, irrigation, drainage, fencing, trellis systems, greenhouses, and environmental enhancements. More than $18 million was awarded to 214 projects through the first round of the Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Program. In total, the program has provided nearly $22 million to farms in eleven counties.
The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets is working in coordination with the County Soil and Water Conservation Districts to administer the program. The Soil and Water Conservation Districts will oversee the implementation of the following round 2 awards:
Number of Projects
Awardees must have participated in the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management program within the last three years. Agricultural Environmental Management is an incentive-based program that helps farmers meet their business goals while implementing best practices to protect the environment. Projects that are committed to increasing their environmental stewardship were also awarded an additional $10,000.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's focus on agriculture as an economic engine for the Southern Tier and for Upstate New York, we have been able to provide support for these meaningful projects across all commodities - from dairy to vegetables to honey production. This funding will allow dozens of established operations to take their business to the next level and continue their environmental stewardship."
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie said, "Across New York, agriculture continues to thrive, thanks to key investments being made to this vital industry. I would like to thank the Governor and Commissioner Ball for making this commitment, which will continue to play a pivotal role in the continued development of our state's leading industry and help farmers preserve the land they rely on for years to come."
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee said, "These investments will enhance environmental sustainability throughout the Southern Tier and protect the stability of agriculture in the region. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts for supporting these critical projects that will help ensure the integrity of our farms and our land for the future."
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, "The Districts are pleased to assist with the Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Program projects, which are not only providing a boost to our farmers but are also helping them implement best practices on the farm that help protect our environment. We look forward to working on this second round of projects that will further grow the agricultural community."
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
"Southern Tier Soaring" is the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The state has already invested more than $3.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest.
Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million state investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The state's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.