$21 million will be provided through Climate Resilient Farming (CRF) Grant Program & Agricultural Non-Point Source Abatement and Control (Ag Nonpoint) Program
√ Applications due March 28 and May 2
√ Governor’s State of the State proposes increases in funding for CRF & Ag Nonpoint programs in this year’s executive budget
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced two grant opportunities totaling $21 million for projects designed to help New York’s farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy savings, mitigate water and soil quality concerns, and increase on-farm resiliency to climate change.
Ball said, “These grant opportunities are great news for New York’s farmers, who are continuing to lead the nation in their environmental stewardship efforts. We have made an incredible impact on our farms so far through the funding of best practices and smart environmental management planning, which are helping to protect our natural resources and ensure our farms can remain competitive and profitable.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The grants announced today will help New York’s farmers improve sustainable practices while protecting the state’s wildlife, land, water and air. DEC applauds this latest investment in the future of New York’s farms and the protection of our natural resources as climate change continues to affect our communities and shape our landscapes.”
Climate Resilient Farming
A press release noted, “The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program helps farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and address the impacts of extreme weather events resulting from climate change. Through five rounds of funding to date, awarded projects are estimated to deliver the equivalent of 320,000 metric tons of CO2e per year emissions reductions, equivalent to removing 69,500 cars from the road for one year. The 2020-21 and 2021-22 state budget, through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, provided for a combined $8 million in funding for this sixth round.”
The department is now accepting applications for the program, with funding available to support agricultural projects and related equipment purchases that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help agricultural producers prepare for and better manage impacts of climate change, including increased heavy storm events, overall rainfall, and periods of drought.
Applications must be for one of the following project categories: track 1 – agricultural waste storage cover and flare systems; track 2 – water management systems; and track 3 – Healthy Soils NY, soil health management practice systems.
√ Track 1 – agricultural waste storage cover and flare systems, $4 million: projects will reduce methane emissions from the farm and increase the farm’s resiliency to major precipitation events.
√ Track 2 – water management systems, $2 million: projects will help prepare agricultural producers for flood events and drought. The “water management” umbrella includes best management practices, which stabilize or reinforce conveyances, reduce flows, and/or store water.
√ Track 3 – Healthy Soils NY, $2 million: projects will improve soil health on farms and enhance a farm’s resiliency to the impacts of climate change, including benefits during times of drought, wet weather, as well as optimal growing conditions. Soil health practices can also create carbon sinks, increase water holding capacity, and improve recycling of nitrogen by crops, thereby mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
The state's county soil and water conservation districts can apply on behalf of farmers for this competitive grant program. The application and additional information are available on the department’s website at https://agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities. Project proposals are due at 4:30 p.m. March 28.
Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Abatement and Control Program
In addition to the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program funding, an additional $13 million is available to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state through round 28 of the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program.
The Agricultural Nonpoint program awards projects that focus on either environmental planning or the implementation of best management practice systems to protect New York’s watersheds. Projects include conservation measures, such as nutrient management through manure storage, vegetative buffers along streams, and conservation cover crops.
The state's county soil and water conservation districts can apply on behalf of farmers for this competitive grant program, which is also funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. The application and additional information are available on the department’s website at https://agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities.
Project proposals are due at 4:30 p.m. May 2.
Executive Budget Proposal
Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed “significant increases” in funding for both the CRF and Ag Nonpoint programs in the 2022-23 executive budget, through a historic $400 million investment in the Environmental Protection Fund. The governor has proposed an increase in the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control program, from $18 million to $20 million, an increase from $4 million to $17.5 million for the Climate Resilient Farming program, and an increase from $11 million to $15 million for the county soil and water conservation districts to increase the capacity of the local workforce and to further assist our farmers in their leadership to elevate water quality and fight against climate change.
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “The funds being made available today are helping our farmers to build on the great accomplishments they’ve made so far in protecting the health of our soils and our waterways and combating climate change. Working with our soil and water districts, our farmers are making a difference, farm by farm, and ensuring the preservation of our precious resources for our future generations.”
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, in coordination with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, administers the Climate Resilient Farming Program and the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program through its Land and Water Division, which works to protect New York's land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation, and proactive environmental stewardship.
A press release noted, “The Climate Resilient Farming Program and Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program function as part of the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) 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 the AEM 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 the state's natural resources.”