Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $2.4 million from the state's Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund (ACRF) will be distributed to 125 farms to help New York's agricultural communities recover from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Governor Cuomo made the announcement at the John Glebocki Farm in Goshen, New York, which sustained major damage from the past flooding.
The Governor also announced that certain regulations will be temporarily suspended to allow additional financial assistance for the rebuilding of rural communities to be approved and distributed as quickly as possible.
"Although many New York farms were destroyed during the recent storms, we are moving quickly to distribute recovery funds so the rebuilding process can begin as soon as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "Before the flooding from Tropical Storm Lee began, we had already lost nearly 140,000 acres of farmland from Hurricane Irene. I have visited hard-hit farming areas together with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and N.Y. Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Aubertine and we have seen the destruction firsthand. This aid will provide much-needed assistance to agricultural communities so farmers can begin to rebuild."
Darrel Aubertine, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets, said, "The recent storms did tremendous damage to some of our best farmland. Governor Cuomo created the Agriculture and Community Recovery Fund to speed the rebuilding process in our farming sector. This aid will allow work to begin in short-order to help our farmers recover from this catastrophe."
The ACRF was announced by Governor Cuomo on September 3rd and will provide at least $15 million to rebuild communities and the agricultural industry in hard-hit areas. The funds are from the ACRF Conservation Program, which is designed to help farms recover, stabilize soils and stream banks, restore water control structures, and improve and protect water quality.
Today's distribution of aid includes:
Albany County Soil & Water District $30,250Projects: Replacement of alternative water supply and reconstruction of an access road, fencing, and gravel deposition removal.
Broome County Soil & Water District - $20,000Projects: Fence repair, stream bank stabilization, replacement of alternative water supply, and debris removal from cropland.
Chenango County Soil & Water District - $37,564Projects: Debris removal and streambank stabilization.
Clinton County Soil & Water District $11,700Projects: Replace failed culverts and access road repair.
Columbia County Soil & Water District $44,000 Projects: Access road, stream crossing, fencing repair, debris removal from crop fields, and stream bank stabilization.
Delaware County Soil & Water District - $101,214Projects: Debris removal, milk house waste treatment system replacement, fencing, access road replacement and repair, stream bank stabilization.
Dutchess County Soil & Water District $17,403 Projects: Debris removal from pastures, access road repair, fence repair, downed tree removal, and vegetative buffer planting.
Greene County Soil & Water District - $174,650Projects: Debris removal, fence repair, and grassed waterway repair.
Essex County Soil & Water District $45,460 Projects: Stream channel restoration, debris removal, fence repair, and access road and culvert repair.
Montgomery County Soil & Water District $153,250 Projects: Gravel and debris removal from cropland, stream bank stabilization, and vegetative buffer plantings.
Oneida County Soil & Water District $18,995 Projects: Field restoration, diversion ditch, and obstruction removal
Orange County Soil & Water District - $319,620Projects: Access road repair and replacement, crop field restoration, debris removal, animal laneway repair, water control structure repair, water supply, and fencing repair.
Otsego County Soil & Water District $167,100 Projects: Barnyard water management, stream bank stabilization, debris removal, and critical area seeding.
Rensselaer County Soil & Water District $184,060 Projects: Fence replacement and repair, stream bank stabilization, debris removal, and access road repair.
Saratoga County Soil & Water District $30,000 Projects: Replace main access road and large culvert crossing.
Schenectady County Soil & Water District - $26,000Projects: Debris removal, erosion control practices, stream crossing repair, and streambank stabilization.
Schoharie County Soil & Water District $556,090 Projects: Debris removal, including gravel piles, whole trees, buildings, and fuel and propane tanks in crop fields; milk house waste treatment system replacement; fencing; access road replacement and repair stream bank stabilization; cover cropping; field repair; and water control structure repair.
Suffolk County Soil & Water District $25,000 Project: Repair to water control structures to keep Hallocks Bay from flooding farm fields.
Sullivan County Soil & Water District - $3,300Projects: Debris removal and streambank stabilization.
Tioga County Soil & Water District - $219,920Projects: Debris and obstruction removal, vegetative buffer repair, streambank stabilization, manure storage evaluation, pump replacement, and fence repair.
Ulster County Soil & Water District $190,252Projects: Stream crossing for equipment repair, critical area seeding, irrigation system repair, fencing, orchard repair, debris removal, access road repair, and cover cropping.
Washington County Soil & Water District $60,415 Projects: Streambank stabilization, crop field restoration, alternative water supply repair, debris removal, and riparian buffer replacement.
Expedited Financial Assistance to Farms
The additional steps announced by Governor Cuomo today will temporarily remove a number of bureaucratic barriers that would impede the delivery of much-needed financial assistance to New York farming communities.
The measures will:
- Allow the Department of Agriculture and Markets to expedite the authorization process for emergency contracts to Soil and Water Conservation Districts
- Allow for expedited allocation of appropriations from the Upstate Agricultural Economic Development Fund to hard-hit areas
- Provide measures to ensure the expedited approval of contracts or purchases directed toward assisting farming areas affected by Hurricane Irene, avoiding the time-consuming standard procurement process
- Waive the waiting period to allow expedited delivery of Community Development Block Grant funds
About the ACRF Conservation Program
The Conservation Program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in consultation with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. Applications for funding will be accepted from County Soil and Water Conservation Districts within the eligible counties. Eligible counties are those that received a disaster designation for Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
The Soil and Water Districts will determine land eligibility based on site inspections of damage. For land to be eligible, the Tropical Storms must have created a new conservation problem that, if left untreated, would: degrade the states natural resources; impact public drinking water supplies; present ongoing pollution risks to surface and groundwater; pose threats to production facilities; impair farm safety; affect the lands productive capacity; or present challenges to farm production that would be too costly to implement without state assistance.
Eligible emergency conservation practices include, but are not limited to: debris removal; restoring fences and conservation structures; crop removal; land shaping and grading; and installation of vegetative practice, including cover crop. Eligible costs include: architectural and/or engineering services; consultant services; construction; and other direct expenses related to implementation.
Project sponsors within eligible counties may submit applications on a weekly basis. Applications will be taken until all available funds are awarded.
Project selection will be based on identified need and degree of loss and with consideration of the available funding for eligible counties. Recovery funds requested will be reviewed and approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets. The Commissioner may consult with the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, the agency that oversees policy and programs for New Yorks 58 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts.