Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced nearly $7.9 million is being awarded through the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program to help more than 70 farms across the state reduce their environmental footprints and prepare for extreme weather events related to climate change. The selected projects will reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 68,495 metric tons of CO2e per year, or as much as eliminating almost 14,800 cars per year from the road.
"New York's farmers are on the front lines of the fight against climate change and among the first to feel the devastating effects of extreme weather events that have become all too common in recent years," Hochul said. "Our Climate Resilient Farming Program gives farmers the resources they need to prepare for and respond to whatever weather events the future holds, and continue their critical work contributing to our local economies, and producing fresh, healthy products for all New Yorkers."
Launched 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 six rounds of funding to date, nearly $20 million has been awarded to assist farms across New York.
Projects awarded in Round 6 focused on best management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil health, and promote energy savings in the Capital Region, as well as Central New York, Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York regions. 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 three tracks: manure storage cover and capture; riparian, floodplain and upland water management; and Healthy Soils NY.
In Western New York, the total award is $426,345:
√ Allegany SWCD was awarded $34,062 to assist one farm.
√ Erie SWCD was awarded $256,923 to assist four farms.
√ Niagara SWCD was awarded $135,360 to assist four farms.
A complete list of the project descriptions can be found here.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York's Climate Resilient Farming program has a proven history of helping farmers better manage extreme weather events that are becoming more common, while reducing their environmental footprint and protecting our surrounding natural resources. I thank Gov. Hochul for her historic commitment to expanding this program, and wish all of our Soil and Water Conservation Districts and farmers the best as they embark on their projects, which are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the rate of removing almost 14,800 cars from the road. That is certainly something to celebrate during Climate Week."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "New York's farmers are at the forefront of environmental stewardship, managing smart, sustainable production practices. DEC applauds the ongoing support for agriculture through the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program in helping to build upon Gov. Hochul's efforts to continue incorporating innovative ways to combat climate change while ensuring New York state's farms remain competitive, profitable and thriving."
New York State Senate Agriculture Chair Michelle Hinchey said, "New York farmers are on the frontlines of climate change and have a legacy of leading on proven agricultural practices that build soil health and protect our air and water. The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is an important resource that allows farmers to expand these stewardship efforts while improving their resiliency to the impacts of extreme weather.”
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "New York's farmers take environmental management seriously as we continuously look to find new ways to improve what we do on the farm to safeguard our natural resources. Agriculture is part of the solution to mitigating climate change and the impacts it could have on our land, crops and animals. New York Farm Bureau thanks the governor for her ongoing commitment to the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Programs and the support of our valuable Soil and Water Conservation Districts that partner with farmers to implement sustainability projects."
New York State Soil and Water Conservation District Chair Dale Stein said, "New York's farmers, working in partnership with our Soil and Water Districts, have long been leaders in environmental stewardship. The state's Climate Resilient Farming grants have helped them to expand their efforts to reduce their environmental footprints and protect from extreme weather events. This next round of the program builds on this success and is a tremendous support to farmers as they continue their work."