April 13, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Funding for Finger Lakes Farms to Address Impacts of Climate Change

Governor Cuomo Announces Funding for Finger Lakes Farms to Address Impacts of Climate Change

More than $449,000 Will Help Eight Farms Reduce Environmental Impact and Better Prepare for and Recover From Extreme Weather Events Projects Support Regional Focus on Growing Agriculture as Part of the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that eight farms in Wayne, Wyoming and Ontario Counties will benefit from more than $449,000 awarded through round two of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program. Launched by the Governor in 2015, the program help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and better prepare for and recover after extreme weather events.

"This funding will help protect and preserve New York's natural resources by supporting farms and addressing the unpredictable conditions and challenges of climate change," Governor Cuomo said. "As New York continues to lead the nation in environmental protection, these grants not only build on our efforts to create a cleaner, greener, more resilient state – they address the priorities of the Finger Lakes and the region's Upstate Revitalization Initiative blueprint to grow the agricultural industry and boost the economy."

As part of this second round of funding, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts in six regions across the state were awarded a total of more than $1.5 million in grants on behalf of farmers in one of the following project categories: agricultural waste storage cover and flare, on-farm water management, and soil health systems.

Projects awarded in the Finger Lakes region include:

Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District

  • $145,981 – The District will work with three farms to install water and sediment control basins and associated practices to direct, slow, and diffuse concentrated water flows. This will also reduce all forms of erosion and reduce soil loss, sediment delivery, and nutrient and pathogen runoff to nearby waterways.
  • $226,500 The District will work with one farm to install a sustainable irrigation system to help the farm be more resilient in overcoming drought conditions on 500 acres of the farm’s most vulnerable soils. This will allow the farm to improve crop cover and density, which are key components to building carbon rich healthy soils.
  • $32,010 The District will work with one farm to implement a pond expansion to improve resiliency during drought conditions and ensure the farm has a continuous supply of water in the future. It will also prevent the need to truck supplemental water to the farm and hold higher rates of runoff water that would otherwise impact downstream communities.

Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District

  • $44,790 – The District will work with three farms to implement soil health practice systems, including implementing 500 acres of cover crops to build healthy soils and improve soil carbon sequestration. As a result, the projects will also reduce farm-based greenhouse gas emissions and improve resiliency to the farm during periods of flood and drought.

Awarded projects focus on water management for increased resiliency in times of flood and drought. Three projects focus on water management to mitigate the effects of drought on crops and livestock following severe dry conditions in 2016.

The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and was first announced by Governor Cuomo Opportunity Agenda. During Earth Week in April 2015, the Governor announced $1.4 million in awards through the first round of the program to support 11 projects on farms across five regions. All 11 projects are currently underway to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate water and soil quality concerns.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "This past summer, New York farms saw unprecedented drought conditions, with many suffering crop loss and increased costs. This program will help farmers better manage for droughts and floods that are becoming more common, while reducing their environmental footprint and protecting our surrounding natural resources."

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie said, "Farmers across the state were severely impacted by last year’s devastating drought and are still recovering from its effects. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball for recognizing the need for this critical funding, which will allow farmers to better prepare themselves with the necessary tools for any extreme weather they may encounter."

Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee said, "As they continue to prepare for and adapt to the changes in their environment, New York farmers facing the challenge of climate change will better be able to manage the detrimental effects of extreme weather conditions such as flooding and drought with a leg-up from the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program."

Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, "The Climate Resilient Farming program is an innovative program that helps New York’s farmers adapt their farms to the changing climate. Through the program, farms are able to implement projects that help them manage through periods of extreme weather, from severe storms to severe drought, and that reduce greenhouse gas production and promote increased soil health. New York State is leading the nation in helping farms preserve, protect and promote the environment for the generations that follow us."

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "Farmers have long dealt with whatever Mother Nature throws at them, but weather conditions in recent years have been tough and extreme. The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program helps new York farms continue to lead the way on environmental stewardship while at the same time improving their ability to weather both the wet and dry conditions that can threaten their livelihoods."

Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Greg McKurth said, "Due to last year's severe drought conditions in Western New York as well as ongoing global climate changes, the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is an excellent program and resource for Soil and Water Conservation Districts in New York State. It allows the Districts to provide necessary assistance to our agricultural community in contending with these challenging times."

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today's announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agricultureý and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.​


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