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NYS: $16 million to help farms address impacts of climate change


Tue, Nov 14th 2023 02:10 pm

Program funding doubled from last year, helping 116 farms to increase environmental sustainability and resilience to extreme weather events

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced nearly $16 million is being awarded through round 7 of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant to help 116 farms across the state address the impacts of climate change. The program is a part of the state’s agricultural environmental management framework that is locally led by county soil and water conservation districts and participating farmers.

Hochul’s team said, “The selected projects will reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 64,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year – or as much as eliminating over 14,000 cars from the road for one year – increase environmental sustainability, and boost resiliency to extreme weather events related to climate change.” 

Funding for the program was doubled in the New York enacted budget as part of the state’s climate agenda.

“New York’s agricultural industry is too often faced with severe challenges associated with our changing climate, from flooding to droughts that impact their crops and their livelihood,” Hochul said. “The Climate Resilient Farming Grant program is addressing these challenges head on, helping our farmers to implement projects that prevent weather-related damage and also ensure our farmers are part of the solution to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing their environmental footprint.”

The press release explained that, through seven rounds of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant program, including this latest round, nearly $36 million has been awarded to assist 386 farms across New York to implement best management practices that help 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.

For example, since the program began, nearly 100,000 acres of cover crops have been awarded on 178 farms to help control erosion, sequester carbon, and improve soil health; additionally, 156 acres of riparian forest buffers are planned across 49 farms to protect crops from flood damage, among other benefits.

County soil and water conservation districts were awarded the grants on behalf of farmers in one of three tracks: livestock management for methane reduction; adaptation and resiliency projects to help farms withstand climate change driven weather extremes; and Healthy Soils NY to boost soil organic matter, sequester carbon, reduce soil erosion and nutrient pollution in waterways, and increase crop yields.

Western New York was awarded $1,469,802 to work with 12 farms. For a complete list and descriptions of projects awarded, visit the Department of Agriculture and Markets' website.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Climate Resilient Farming Grant program continues to provide real solutions in our battle to fight climate change and to provide protections to our farmers who face real hardship following the increasing number of severe weather events we have seen here in New York over the years.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Climate Resilient Farming Grant program through the Department of Agriculture and Markets is providing farmers with the resources they need to bolster the state’s efforts to combat climate change with funding to increase resilience and improve sustainability on New York's farms. Farmers play a big role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring a clean environment and healthy food, and advancing a greener future for New Yorkers.”

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "New York's farmers fully understand the ramifications of climate change on their farms and their roles in both mitigating its impacts and reducing their carbon footprint. The climate resilient farming program assists farms in both of these efforts, helping farms to implement best management practices that build on a record of strong environmental management.”

New York State Sen. Michelle Hinchey said, "Our farmers are the first witness of a changing climate, and they need our continued support to help scale the most effective methods for environmental stewardship and resilience against extreme weather. The Climate Resilient Farming Grant program is instrumental in this effort, assisting farmers across the state.

Assembly member Donna Lupardo said, “The Climate Resilient Farming Program provides farmers with the resources they need to better address the impacts of climate change on farmers, and on their farming practices. The funded projects address critically important areas such as methane reduction, weather resilience, and soil health.”

New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein said, “The Climate Resilient Farming Grant program continues to provide our farmers and soil and water conservation districts with the resources they need to implement best management practices on the farm that are not only helping to protect our natural resources and reduce their environmental footprint, but that are also providing them with a safeguard against extreme weather events that can devastate crops. With this increased funding, the program is reaching even more farms across the state. I’m proud of our agricultural industry and their contributions to the fight against climate change.”

Launched in 2015, the climate resilient farming program supports the state's agricultural sector in meeting its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration on working lands under the state's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

So far, through the program, with expert technical support provided by County SWCDs, nearly 400 farms have been able to implement changes that are contributing to a reduced environmental footprint and increased resiliency to the effects of a changing climate.

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