Agricultural Environmental Management, or AEM, is a cooperative interagency program that provides one-on-one help to farmers to identify environmental risks on their farms. Once these risks are identified, farmers receive help with solution planning and design and with obtaining financial assistance to address existing problems and prevent future ones.
The SWCC develops policy for the statewide AEM program and administers programs through staff and various groups associated with the interagency AEM Steering Committee.
AEM is a voluntary, incentive-based program that helps farmers make common-sense, cost-effective, and science-based decisions to meet business objectives while protecting and conserving New York State’s natural resources. By participating in AEM, farmers can document their environmental stewardship and further advance their positive contributions to their communities, our food systems, the economy, and the environment.
Farmers work with local AEM resource professionals to develop comprehensive farm plans using a tiered process:
- Tier 1 – Inventory current activities, future plans, and potential environmental concerns.
- Tier 2 – Document current land stewardship; assess and prioritize areas of concern.
- Tier 3 – Develop conservation plans addressing concerns and opportunities tailored to farm goals.
- Tier 4 – Implement plans utilizing available financial, educational, and technical assistance.
- Tier 5 – Evaluate to ensure the protection of the environment and farm viability.
AEM links farmers with local conservation professionals to identify existing environmental stewardship, address natural resource concerns, and enhance farm viability. For qualifying operations, participation in AEM may also help promote farm products through New York State Grown & Certified.