New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced two grant opportunities totaling $19 million for projects that will 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.
Commissioner Ball said, “New York’s farmers care about our natural resources and continue to lead the nation in their environmental stewardship efforts. These programs will provide the funding needed for them to continue to make upgrades to the farm through best practices and smart environmental management planning. These projects will not only protect New York’s soil health and water quality but also enhance our farms’ profitability and resiliency to extreme weather events in the future.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York State’s hardworking farmers are among the strongest stewards of our state’s precious natural resources because they understand that a healthy environment is inextricably linked to a prosperous economy. These grants will help New York’s agricultural community comply with critical standards that safeguard soil and water quality while reducing climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. DEC encourages County Soil and Water Conservation Districts to apply for funding for eligible farms.”
Climate Resilient Farming
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 four rounds of funding, awarded projects are estimated to deliver the equivalent of 15,513 metric tons of CO2e per year emissions reductions, equivalent to removing 3,294 cars from the road for one year. The 2019-2020 State Budget, through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, provided for an additional $4 million in funding for this fifth round.
Funding will support agricultural projects and 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.
For the first time, the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program includes funding specifically for the Healthy Soils NY initiative. 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 - $2 million is available for manure storage cover and flare systems to reduce methane emissions from the farm and increase the farm’s resiliency to major precipitation events.
- Track 2 - $1 million is available for water management projects to prepare agricultural producers for flood events and drought.
- Track 3 - $1 million for the Healthy Soils NY initiative to improve soil health on farms and enhance a farm’s resiliency to the impacts of climate change, including drought and wet weather. Soil health management practice systems can also create carbon sinks, increase water holding capacity, and improve recycling of nitrogen by crops, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
The State's county Soil and Water Conservation Districts can apply on behalf of farmers for the competitive grant program. The application and additional information are available on the Department’s website at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities. Project proposals are due at 4:30 pm on March 2, 2020.
Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Abatement and Control Program
In addition to the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program, an additional $15 million is available to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the State through Round 26 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 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’s website at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities. Project proposals are due at 4:30 pm on April 13, 2020.
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “The protection of waterways and the health of our soils is of utmost importance to our farmers, who care for the land they raise their animals and produce their crops on. I’m pleased to see the availability of additional funds for these programs that help our farmers implement the best practices and projects that mitigate environmental concerns and that will ensure our resources for 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.
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.