Program to Help Farms Reduce Environmental Impact and Better Prepare for and Recover After Severe Weather Events, Including This Year’s Drought
Second Round of Funding Approved in the FY 2017 State Budget Builds on Last Year's Successful Pilot Program
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $2.5 million through round two of the Climate Resilient Farming grant program to help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and better prepare for, and recover after, severe weather events. Following last year's successful pilot program, the FY 2017 State Budget increases funding for the program by more than $1 million to strengthen the program during the second round of awards.
"Climate change remains part of the new reality and this program will help in the fight against it by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from farms and making them more resilient against and better able to recover from severe weather events," Governor Cuomo said. "This is one more step toward a stronger, greener and cleaner New York for all."
Through the Climate Resilient Farming grant program, the State's county Soil and Water Conservation Districts apply for the competitive grants on behalf of farmers. Funding will support agricultural projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help agricultural producers prepare for and better manage impacts of climate change, including increased heavy storm events, overall rainfall, and periods of drought. Applications must be for one of the following project categories: agricultural waste storage cover and flare systems; water management systems; and soil health systems.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "This summer had record levels of drought in New York State, resulting in a federal designation of natural disaster in 26 counties. This grant program will help farmers better manage the droughts and floods that are becoming more common, limit their environmental footprint, and become even stronger stewards of the environment."
In April 2015, during Earth Week, the Governor announced $1.4 million was awarded from the first round of the program to support 11 projects on farms across five regions. All 11 projects are currently underway and will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy savings and mitigate water and soil quality concerns in the face of climate change.
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Assemblyman Bill Magee said, "As we have witnessed, extreme and unusual weather conditions are becoming more prevalent across the state; I am pleased to see the Governor take a pro-active approach in providing funding for the Climate Resilient Farming grant program, which will help farm producers to mitigate the effects of climate change while instilling environment protections that will enhance farm viability for future generations."
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie said, "As this year's severe drought has demonstrated, farmers across our state need support when it comes to responding to weather that negatively impacts their operation's bottom line. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball for their efforts to help farmers rebound from the drought and encourage farmers to apply for this grant program, which will help them adapt to severe weather, continue to be good stewards of the land they work and contribute to the further growth of our state's leading industry."
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, "The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is a great program for farmer's who want to be proactive on their farms in the areas of green gas emissions and preparation for extreme weather events as we saw this summer with the extreme drought, but also saw several years ago with Hurricane Irene and the resulting floods. During the first round of grants, there was great participation by farmers, showing that, with some help, our agricultural producers will make great strides toward environmental sustainability."
Applicants for the Climate Resilient Farming Grants Program must submit their proposals through NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee’s SharePoint website and can find information here. Proposals are due by 4:30 p.m., December 12, 2016.
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Climate Resilient Farming grant program through its Land and Water Division, which works to protect New York's land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation, and proactive environmental stewardship. Funding will be directed through the newly established Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation appropriation in the 2016-17 Environmental Protection Fund which thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, has now reached an historic $300 million.
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