New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced more than $1.2 million has been awarded to the State’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to help 33 farms implement practices to protect the environment. Funding from two programs will help these farms to conserve water resources, reduce the impacts of climate change, and implement environmental plans needed to participate in the New York State Grown & Certified program.
Commissioner Ball said, “As we celebrate Earth Day today, we also celebrate the work our farms are doing to improve and green their operations. Our farmers, working with their SWCDs, have long been implementing best management practices that are helping to reduce their environmental footprint and combat climate change. The funding announced today will help nearly three dozen farms to use advanced technology to conserve water, protect the land, and prioritize our natural resources.”
High Efficiency Irrigation Water Management Systems Program
Through the Efficiency Irrigation Water Management System program, the Department has awarded $675,668 to SWCDs for the installation of new or upgraded water irrigation systems on 20 farms. This will allow farms to improve or expand their use of water resources and, at the same time, protect the environment by using high-efficiency systems, particularly micro irrigation systems, that strategically place irrigated water within the root zone of the target crop. The new systems will help farms to conserve water resources and reduce the impacts of climate change while improving their ability to maintain consistent farm yields. They can also be used to target and deliver nutrients to the plant, reducing pollution risks to water resources.
Funding for High-Efficiency Agricultural Irrigation Water Management Systems has been made available through the Environmental Protection Fund. The following SWCDs received funding on behalf of farms in their county:
- Essex County SWCD, one farm
- Jefferson County SWCD, two farms
- Madison County SWCD, one farm
- Orleans County SWCD, seven farms
- Saratoga County SWCD, one farm
- Schuyler County SWCD, one farm
- Seneca County SWCD, one farm
- Suffolk County SWCD, one farm
- Wayne County SWCD, three farms
- Wyoming County SWCD, one farm
- Yates County SWCD, one farm
AEM Implementation for NYS Grown & Certified Program
Through this program, 13 farms were awarded $564,195 to help them implement environmental plans that are needed to participate in the NYS Grown & Certified program. The NYS Grown & Certified program recognizes New York farms that are committed to producing high-quality agricultural products with a focus on environmental responsibility through the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program.
An AEM plan assists fruit, vegetable, specialty crop growers, and other farmers to produce foods and products using the highest environmental standards. It also helps farmers protect and improve New York’s natural resources, including water and soil quality.
Funding for the AEM Implementation for NYS Grown & Certified program has been made available through the Environmental Protection Fund. The following SWCDs received funding on behalf of farms in their county:
- Niagara County, three farms
- Orleans County, one farm
- Schoharie County, one farm
- Wayne County, eight farms
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “The funding announced today will help our farms incorporate important practices into their daily operations to conserve and protect our natural resources. I thank our SWCDs for their work to help our farmers continue to steward the environment now and for our future generations on the farm.”