Funding Provided for 50 Agricultural Projects to Help Farmers Across the State Enhance Water Quality in Priority Watersheds
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced over $13 million has been awarded to protect clean water across New York State and help New York's farmers continue their work to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The funding supports agricultural water quality conservation projects, which will benefit 50 farms, enhance water quality in priority watersheds, and protect the environment. The projects are funded through the State's Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control program.
"New York State is leading the nation in the fight against climate change, and this $13 million in funding is the latest bold investment as part of our ambitious effort to create a greener New York for all," Governor Hochul said. "My administration is committed to helping local communities across the state be better-prepared for the future by preserving their watersheds and environments. These projects will protect New York's waterways and farmland by encouraging sustainable, cost-effective environmental management programs on farms."
The projects have been awarded to 24 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 installing vegetative buffers along streams, planting cover crops, enhancing nutrient management through manure storage, and other conservation measures.
Round 28 grants for the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program were awarded to:
- Capital Region: $344,100 to work with one farm
- Central New York: $3,171,731 to work with 14 farms
- Finger Lakes: $3,769,447 to work with eight farms
- Mohawk Valley: $1,447,718 to work with three farms
- North Country: $2,040,152 to work with 14 farms
- Southern Tier: $1,554,356 to work with five farms
- Western New York: $803,172 to work with five farms
For a complete list of projects awarded, please visit the Department of Agriculture and Markets' website.
Over the past 28 years, New York State has supported projects covering over 600 separate watersheds across the State, including 1,350 nutrient management and 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 140,000 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 28 of this program, over 5,600 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 28 acres of herbaceous and forested buffers will be implemented through Round 28.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Farmers take great care of the land, and, working in partnership with county Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state, they are committed to farming in a way that reduces their environmental footprint and protects our natural resources. Programs like this help New York State continue to lead the U.S. in combating climate change and ensuring a healthy, thriving environment for all."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "With Governor Hochul's record investment in the Environmental Protection Fund the state is making unprecedented investments to protect clean water. These new grants will support farmers in their daily work and are a prime example of how this funding can ensure environmentally-sound management practices in New York State that protect our natural resources. DEC is proud to work together with all of our State partners on projects like these to achieve our climate action goals for a cleaner, more sustainable environment for future generations."
New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chairman Dale Stein said, "The awards announced today will help farms and Soil and Water Conservation Districts across New York protect water quality and enhance soil health for many years to come. We're excited that the Ag Nonpoint program continues to have such a great impact on New York agriculture and helps farms to combat the effects of climate change and continue to steward their land."
State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, "New York farmers are the leading stewards of our natural resources, and with the climate crisis intensifying, it has never been more important to deliver the direct financial support they need to protect our clean water resources and the lands that grow our food. New York's climate leadership and agricultural sustainability go hand in hand, and the funding we secure year over year for the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control program helps to keep this partnership strong."
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, "The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Program plays a critical role in helping farmers address the impacts of climate change. The program supports water contaminant prevention by using best practices for on-farm environmental planning, specifically tailored to an individual farm. I appreciate all the hard work that goes into these mitigation efforts and am extending a special thank you to the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and to the farmers who applied to receive these funds."
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.