Funding Provided for 47 Agricultural Projects Across the State that Help Farmers Address Water Quality Challenges in Priority Watersheds
2019 Marks 25th Anniversary of Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $16.2 million has been awarded to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state. More than 90 farms will benefit from the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control program, which provides funding to address water quality challenges in priority watersheds, such as the Finger Lakes and Susquehanna River watersheds, and protect the environment. This year, the program celebrates its 25th year of providing critical funding to support New York's farms in safeguarding the State's natural resources.
"New York is a leader in the fight to protect clean water, preserve agriculture for the future and combat climate change," Governor Cuomo said. "From our aggressive clean energy plan to environmentally responsible farm practices, we are committed to supporting projects that will protect our natural resources and ensure a better future for the next generation. This program, which paved the way for many of our other on-farm environmental protection programs, continues to help our farmers use cost-effective methods to protect our waterways."
"It is critical that our waterways are free from contaminants and safe for all New Yorkers," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This investment for 47 agricultural projects across the state will support conservation efforts, enhance and protect water quality, and help to ensure farmers have the tools they need to benefit both the environment and our economy. We are committed to investing to prevent pollution and promote the health and safety of all New Yorkers."
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program in coordination with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. The program is a part of the Agricultural Environmental Management framework, a broader effort that helps farmers achieve higher levels of environmental stewardship and more efficient, cost-effective farming systems.
The 47 projects awarded will support on-farm environmental planning and the implementation of best management practice systems to keep nutrients and other potential pollutants from entering waterways. BMPs include a variety of measures including, vegetative buffers along streams, cover crops, nutrient management through manure storage, and other conservation measures.
More than two dozen County Soil and Water Conservation Districts applied for the grants on behalf of farmers across the State. Round 25 of grants for the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program were awarded to:
· North Country: $616,351 for five projects
· Central New York: $4,567,905 for ten projects
· Finger Lakes: $3,317,665 for nine projects
· Western New York: $2,175,405 for ten projects
· Mid-Hudson: $453,318 for one project
· Capital Region: $985,800 for two projects
· Mohawk Valley: $1,608,706 for four projects
· Southern Tier: $2,548,599 for six projects
For a complete list of projects awarded, please visit the Department of Agriculture website.
Over the past 25 years, New York State has supported projects covering 500 separate watersheds across the State, including 1,000 manure storage projects to help farms actively balance nutrient supply and crop nutrient demand, which benefits the environment and enhances farm viability. More than 750 riparian buffers have been created to filter nutrients and sediment, protecting surface water, stabilizing streambanks, improving aquatic habitat and reducing impacts from flooding. In addition, more than 50,000 acres of cover crops have been planted to help prevent erosion, improve soil health and increase organic matter in the soil, which retains more moisture for crop demand through the growing season. Cover crops also sequester carbon, helping New York's famers combat climate change.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York's farmers take great care of our natural resources and have earned national recognition for their efforts. These projects continue our agricultural community's longstanding tradition of working with our County Soil and Water Conservation Districts to ensure that we keep improving our practices so our farms can produce the best products while maintaining the State's leadership in land stewardship."
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Supported by Governor Cuomo's nation-leading efforts to safeguard water quality, New York continues to make record investments in programs to ensure the protection of our natural resources and clean water for our communities. These grants will support the farming industry in their work to implement new and innovative management tools that will help preserve New York's invaluable water resources statewide."
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, "We are thankful for these funds, which help New York State's farmers and conservation districts work together to improve agricultural practices, allowing our farms to remain profitable while using environmentally-responsible practices. New York State's farmers recognize the importance of caring for the land so it can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come."
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "New York's farmers are committed to caring for their natural resources, and this latest round of funding will help farms implement conservation projects to improve water quality across the state. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the incentive program offered by the State of New York and its Soil and Water Conservation Districts that works with farmers to continually improve best management practices."
Senator Jen Metzger, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee said, "Water quality improvement projects implemented by the State over the last quarter century demonstrate New York's commitment to sustainability in agriculture, and this $16.2 investment underscores that heritage. As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I know how vital it is to protect our watersheds, and how important these funds are in supporting the unique and critical role of our hard-working farmers in stewarding our irreplaceable resources."
Assembly Member Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture said, "Our agricultural industry is in a unique position to protect New York's natural resources. For 25 years, the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control program has helped farmers implement best practices to preserve waterways across the state. Working with local soil and water conservation districts, this program has promoted a cleaner environment which benefits both farm businesses and consumers."
Assembly Member Steve Englebright, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation, said, "The use of best management practices in agriculture is essential to the protection of our New York State waterways. Water quality conservation funding to help farmers keep nonpoint source nutrients and chemicals from entering waterways will safeguard our priceless natural resources and help promote more efficient, cost-effective farming practices."
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program is funded in the 2018-19 State Budget through the historic $300 million New York State Environmental Protection Fund. Since 1993, New York State has dedicated approximately $210 million to the program.
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program 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. In 2019, the New York State budget also committed an additional $500 million for capital costs of clean water infrastructure projects.
Following Governor Cuomo's 2018 State of the State announcement, state agencies allocated more than $82 million in competitive grants for projects to address nutrient pollution in water bodies that have been affected by harmful algal blooms.