Funding Provided for 91 Agricultural Projects to Help Farmers Across the State Address Water Quality Challenges in Priority Watersheds
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced nearly $14 million has been awarded to protect clean water across the state. This funding will support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state, benefiting 91 farms, and is provided through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control program, which supports projects that address water quality challenges in priority watersheds and protect the environment.
"New York continues to take decisive action to protect access to clean water across the state," Governor Hochul said. "This money will go towards fulfilling both those goals by encouraging the implementation of cost-effective waterway protection and reducing our carbon footprint."
The projects have been awarded to 25 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, on behalf of the farms, who will support on-farm environmental planning and the implementation of best management practice (BMP) 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.
Round 27 grants for the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program were awarded to:
- Western NY Region: $1,219,312 for 4 farms
- Finger Lakes Region: $2,644,294 for 30 farms
- Southern Tier Region: $1,323,984 for 6 farms
- Central NY Region: $ 3,867,030 for 31 farms
- North Country Region: $ 1,935,559 for 5 farms
- Mohawk Valley Region: $1,611,603 for 3 farms
- Capital District Region: $524,687 for 2 farms
- Mid-Hudson Region: $411,100 for 9 farms
- Long Island Region: $154,275 for 1 farm
For a complete list of projects awarded, please visit the Department of Agriculture and Markets' website.
Over the past 25 years, New York State has supported projects covering 500 separate watersheds across the State, including 1,300 manure storage projects to help farms actively balance nutrient supply and crop nutrient demand, which benefits the environment and enhances farm viability. More than 800 acres of riparian buffer 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 80,000 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 farmers combat climate change. Through Round 27of this program, approximately 20,000 acres of cover crop will be implemented. Riparian buffers are another practice that allow for carbon sequestration in addition to offering water quality benefits. Over 30 acres of herbaceous and forested buffers will be implemented through Round 27.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Our farmers, working with our Soil and Water Districts, are proud of the work they do to leave the land better. The Ag Non-Point program provides them the resources they need to do this important work by protecting our water bodies, which in turn is helping the State to reach its climate goals and protect our natural resources, now and for future generations."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Clean water is critical to the health and safety of our communities, environment, and economic prosperity. Few groups understand the importance of clean water better than New York's farmers, who are among our state's strongest environmental stewards. These grants will help provide Soil and Water Conservation Districts and agricultural communities with the tools and resources they need to implement projects and land management strategies that safeguard water resources and soil quality in order to sustain agricultural operations across the state."
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, "The awards announced today will have a far-reaching impact, helping these farms, and their county Soil and Water Conservation Districts, to improve soil health and preserve our water quality for years to come. The Ag Non Point program has long been an important tool in our work to protect our natural resources, and even more so now, as we work to combat climate change."
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, "As the leading stewards of our natural resources, New York farmers endeavor every day to keep our waters clean and free of pollution sources. This latest round of grant funding will help these conservation leaders continue their work to safeguard our watersheds and support their ability to produce fresh, local food. With the climate crisis intensifying, it has never been more important to recognize that farmers are a cornerstone of New York's mitigation strategy and that our environmental progress as a state is tied to strong partnerships with our agricultural community. I am thrilled that farmers across New York State will have access to this critical funding and grateful for Governor Hochul's continued support of the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program."
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, "I am grateful that our Soil and Water Conservation Districts can continue helping farmers protect New York's vital natural resources. The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Program assists farmers implement the best practices they need to protect our waterways. These grants make a huge difference, supporting our farmers as they face many environmental and financial challenges."
The New York State 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 Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program builds on the State's efforts to provide historic water quality protections, including the State's unprecedented $3.5 billion commitment to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to clean water and its aggressive actions taken to combat climate change.