Funding is Part of Governor's $2.5 Billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act
Program Will Help Large Livestock Farmers in 22 Counties Meet Environmental Requirements
Total of $35 Million Provided Through Two Rounds of the Program
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $14.7 million has been awarded to implement water quality protection projects on 43 farms across the state. The funding was provided through the second round of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Waste Storage and Transfer System Program. It supports projects that will allow large livestock farms to better manage and store nutrients, such as manure, to protect ground water and nearby waterways. The program is 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 protections statewide.
"Agriculture and water infrastructure are key to New York's current and future economic prosperity and this program will help livestock farms in every corner of the state protect drinking water, while also strengthening our agricultural sector," Governor Cuomo said. "With this investment, we are supporting New York's economy and helping to ensure our essential natural resources and our farms are preserved for years to come."
Through the program, 50 waste storage and transfer systems will be installed on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permitted farms in 22 counties across the state. Grants will help offset the cost of construction, site preparation and associated best management practices. Funded projects will also help farmers meet the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's environmental requirements first announced in January of 2017. A list of funding being provided to the Districts is here.
The funding is being provided to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York regions. The districts applied for this funding on behalf of eligible farmers in the region.
In December 2017, Governor Cuomo announced $20 million had been awarded through Round 1 of the program to implement water quality protection projects on 56 farms throughout the state. The Department of Agriculture and Markets will launch a third application period for an additional $15 million in grant funding in 2019.
"Our agricultural economy is a significant driver of jobs and investment across New York," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Farming communities throughout Upstate New York will benefit from this infusion of state funding, which will create new opportunities to protect our state's water resources."
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Environmental stewardship is an important part of farming in New York State and our Districts are critical to their success. Our farmers know that by caring for the land, the land gives back to us. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's commitment to the environment and our agricultural industry, this grant program helps farmers meet standards that protect our water supply, which, in turn, helps sustain our farms."
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Clean water is critical to the health and safety of our communities and New York's economic prosperity. Our farmers are arguably some of the most committed New Yorkers when it comes to protecting our natural resources. With Governor Cuomo's leadership, these grants will help New York's agricultural community safeguard our water resources and sustain agricultural operations across the state. We encourage eligible farms to apply for funding."
New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein said, "This grant program is critical for farms to be able to continue to meet environmental regulations. The work farmers are doing to improve, protect and enhance the water and their land is vital to ensuring the generations that follow us can enjoy a healthy environment. Without this grant most farmers would not be able to make the improvements needed on their farms. Working with their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, farmers are able to identify and implement the needed changes to keep their farms environmentally sustainable."
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "NYFB applauds the department's effort in getting this funding to farmers in a timely fashion. Environmental stewardship continues to be a priority for farms in the state and these grants for water quality protection projects are important to helping farms comply with some of the toughest CAFO regulations in the country. Initiatives like this help farmers to protect the water resources that we all depend on across New York State."
Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, "New York's farmers work very hard not only to grow and produce the fresh, healthy foods consumers demand—but also to protect our natural resources while doing so. Through these investments, we can help lower costs for livestock farmers, protect the environment and ultimately, strengthen the future of our state's leading industry."
Senator Tom O'Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "These are wise state investments to keep our farmers competitive and, at the same time, protect our natural resources for the long run and strengthen local economies. 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."
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, "The agricultural industry is a key driver of our State's economy and important to our communities. The funding being provided through this grant program will help our farmers across the state ensure our waters remain clean and protect our environment for future generations."
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. Grant funding for the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program is available over three consecutive application rounds.
The Department of Agriculture and Markets and 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. Manure storage allows farmers to apply manure at optimum times for efficient uptake and recycling by crops. Storing manure also makes it possible for farmers to better achieve a higher level of nutrient management and maintain environmental protections. The fact sheet can be found here.
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.