Supports the Governor's $2.5 Billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $15 million in grant funding is available 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, wastewater infrastructure, and other water quality protection across the state, including funds to ensure proper management and storage of nutrients on farms.
"Protecting New York's natural resources and water quality is critical to our farms and to the very future of this state," Governor Cuomo said. "With this funding, livestock farms will be able to operate to the safest, cleanest standards possible, helping us to take yet another step toward ensuring the health and wellbeing of families in every corner of New York."
The State Agriculture Department's Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Waste Storage and Transfer System Program, announced in 2017, funds projects that will allow livestock farms to better manage and store nutrients, such as manure, to protect ground water and nearby waterways. Following $20 million in awards provided through Round 1, the 2017-18 State Budget provides continued funding with $15 million to support additional Round 2 projects. The Department will launch a third application period for the final $15 million in 2019. These grants also support the state's comprehensive effort to reduce the frequency of harmful algal blooms in upstate waterbodies.
Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo launched a $65 million four-point initiative in his 2018 State of the State address to aggressively combat HABs. The increasing frequency and duration of HABs threaten drinking water quality and the recreational use of lakes essential to tourism. HABs are likely triggered by a combination of water and environmental conditions that may include excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), lots of sunlight, low-water or low-flow conditions, calm water, and warm temperatures.
County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can apply for Round 2 of the 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 CAFO-permitted farms offset the cost of 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 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation environmental requirements.
The application and additional information is available on the Department of Agriculture and Markets' website. The deadline to apply is August 6, 2018. 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.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "This funding is critically important for New York's farmers as they balance environmental stewardship and difficult market conditions that are putting pressure on their operations. I'm pleased that the first round of funding has been awarded and that the Department has moved quickly to announce the availability of this second round, which will further help dairy and livestock farms invest in manure management systems needed for optimal nutrient recycling and protection of our natural resources."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Clean water is critical to the health and safety of our communities and New York's economic prosperity. With Governor Cuomo's leadership, these grants will help New York farmers safeguard our water resources and sustain agricultural operations across the state. We encourage eligible farms to apply for funding."
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."
Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, "New York State's hardworking farmers strive to be good stewards of the land and water they use to grow and produce the fresh foods consumers depend on. Programs like this not only help them achieve those goals, but also protect public health, the environment and the future of our state's leading industry."
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, "Dairy and other livestock farmers want to protect our water and this funding will help them make critical upgrades to their farms to maximize crop uptake of nutrients. With milk prices so low, it's more important than ever that our farmers receive the support they need to ensure nutrients are applied effectively and efficiently."
New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein said, "This funding will continue to help farmers meet the State's new environmental regulations. The second round of funding will help farmers navigate through a difficult economic climate to protect and enhance New York's water resources."
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "The second round of grants earmarked for water quality protection projects is important to helping farmers comply with some of the toughest CAFO regulations in the country. Environmental stewardship has long been a priority for the state's agricultural community, and these cost-sharing initiatives are designed to protect the water resources that we all depend on across New York."
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.