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Cuomo announces $4 million to help New York farms address impacts of climate change

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Wed, Feb 17th 2021 02:55 pm

Awards to help 80 farms reduce their environmental footprints and prepare for extreme weather events

Selected projects will reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 90,000 metric tons of CO2 per year

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced $4 million is being awarded through the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program to help 80 farms across the state reduce their environmental footprints and prepare for extreme weather events resulting from climate change. His team said the projects selected will reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 90,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, or as much as eliminating nearly 20,000 cars from the road.

Launched by the governor in 2015, the Climate Resilient Farming Program supports the state's agricultural sector in meeting its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the state's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Through five rounds of funding to date, the state has provided $12 million to assist farms across New York.

"Extreme weather caused by climate change is becoming the new normal, and the results can be devastating to New York's farmers and the entire agriculture industry," Cuomo said. "Farmers need the resources to adapt to this new normal while continuing to make a living, and the Climate Resilient Farming Program is an important piece of that puzzle. This funding will help our farmers continue to care for their land, implement measures to reduce their carbon footprints and protect crops and livestock from extreme weather damage, while furthering our strongest-in-the-nation program to combat climate change."

Awarded round 5 projects in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York regions focus on best management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil health and promote energy savings. Projects also increase irrigation capacity and emphasize water management to mitigate the effects of periods of drought on crops and livestock, as well as heavy rainfall and flooding.

County soil and water conservation districts were awarded the grants on behalf of farmers in one of the following project categories: agricultural waste storage cover and capture for methane reduction, on-farm water management, and soil health management systems.

Among the districts awarded grants to assist farms to implement climate-related projects:

•Western New York – Total Award, $83,826

Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District was awarded $83,826 to assist two farms.

A complete list of the project descriptions can be found here.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York's farmers take great efforts to protect our watersheds and support soil health. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo, New York is helping our farmers to maintain the environmental stewardship they are known for nationally and to continue to lead the way in combating climate change. I'm proud that agriculture is at the table, playing an important role as we work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure clean water and healthy soils for our future generations."

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York state continues to fortify our reputation as a national leader finding innovative ways to combat climate change and promote best practices to protect our environment and public health. Through Gov. Cuomo's Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program, New York is helping support farmers across the state as we work together to safeguard New York's water, soil and air quality for generations to come."

New York State Senate Agriculture Chair Michelle Hinchey said, "Agriculture is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and our New York farming community needs to be a big part of the solution to mitigating its adverse effects. Our farmers work hard every day to keep our water clean and our soil healthy, and we must provide them with the tools to continue this vital work. Thanks to this funding through the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program, more farmers can access the assistance they need to bolster their environmental stewardship efforts and improve their readiness to extreme weather events."

Chair of Committee on Agriculture Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, "Farmers are on the frontlines of climate change. As such, they are ready and willing to play an important role in reducing their own environmental footprint by reducing harmful emissions. These important investments will help reduce the effects of extreme weather on food production while protecting the soil, water, and air our farm economy relies on."

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "Farms across New York are taking steps to mitigate the effects of climate change and improve their sustainability practices. This state investment will further establish New York agriculture as a leader in this effort. New York Farm Bureau supports the Climate Resilient Farming program and its continued effort to work with farmers to meet their goals of being strong stewards of our natural resources."

New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Vice Chair David Brass said, "The future of agriculture will be greatly impacted by the actions we take to fight climate change today. Our farmers, working in partnership with their soil and water districts, have long taken the steps needed to reduce their environmental footprint and protect from extreme weather events; and for the last several years, the Climate Resilient Farming grants have helped them to expand their efforts. This next round of the program builds on this success, reaching dozens of farms across the state as they implement best management practices that reduce greenhouse gases and sequester carbon."

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