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Funding to help farmers protect New York's water quality

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Tue, May 11th 2021 05:25 pm

Up to $13 million available for agricultural projects to protect water quality

Agricultural non-point source abatement and control program part of broader effort to help farmers improve environmental stewardship

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $13 million is available to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state. Administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the agricultural non-point source abatement and control program provides farms with funding to plan or implement the best management practices to protect New York's waterways and help preserve the environment.

"New York's green energy and climate plan is leading the nation, and our agricultural industry is a critical partner in achieving our environmental goals," Cuomo said. "This funding helps our farmers continue to produce some of the best products in the world, while also protecting our waterways and ensuring the future of the industry."

A press release stated, “Now in its 27th round, the program provides critical funding to projects that focus on either environmental planning or implementing best management practices to protect watersheds around the state. The program prioritizes projects that both protect water quality and offer other environmental benefits, such as carbon sequestration, habitat development and improved soil health. Past projects include conservation measures, such as nutrient management through manure storage, vegetative buffers along streams and conservation cover crops.”

County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can apply on behalf of farmers for the competitive grant program, which is funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. The application and additional information are available on the Department of Agriculture's website, with project proposals due at 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 28.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York's farmers care about our land and continue to be nationwide leaders in environmental stewardship efforts. Our agricultural non-point source abatement and control program is providing critical funding needed for farmers to make upgrades to the farm through best practices and smart environmental management planning, helping them continue to protect New York's water quality and natural resources."

The press release continued, “Funds provided through the program are central to advancing New York state's comprehensive goals for environmental management, including those from the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, watershed plans and other plans for conserving natural resources. The program functions as 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.

“County Soil and Water Conservation Districts use this framework to assist interested farmers through planning and implementation to make science-based and cost-effective decisions. As a result, farmers can meet business goals while conserving New York's natural resources.”

In coordination with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, the Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the agricultural non-point source abatement and control program through its land and water division, which aims to protect New York's land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation and proactive environmental stewardship.”

New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chairman Dale Stein said, "Our farmers care deeply for New York's natural resources, including our community waterways. This funding will help them continue to be environmental leaders, stewarding their land and water through best management practices that conserve water quality and ensure the protection of the environment for future generations."

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Michelle Hinchey said, "New York farmers are the backbone of communities across the state and are leading the way when it comes to implementing practices that protect our clean water resources. This latest round of grant funding will help farmers continue their long tradition of being good stewards of the lands that grow our food while keeping our waters free of pollution sources. One of the most important things we can do as a state is work in partnership with our farmers to ensure they can produce healthy, local foods in a way that maintains New York's position as a leader in environmental protection. These goals go hand in hand, and we're grateful for the state's continued support for this critical program, which keeps this partnership strong."

Assembly Committee on Agriculture Chairwoman Donna Lupardo said, "New York's farmers have always been good stewards of the state's environment, having long understood the importance of protecting our natural resources. Programs such as the non-point source abatement program provide farmers with funding to implement measures to safeguard our waterways. Programs like this benefit the environment, while also strengthening the overall farm and food economy."

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