Agricultural Environmental Management


Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) is a voluntary, incentive-based program available to all farmers through their local Soil and Water Conservation District.  AEM supports common-sense, cost-effective, and science-based decisions to meet farm goals while protecting and conserving New York‘s natural resources. By participating in AEM, farmers can document their environmental stewardship and further advance their positive contributions to their communities, our food and bio-systems, the economy, and the environment. 


The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee administer the AEM framework and associated funding programs at the state-level and Soil and Water Conservation Districts lead AEM at the local-level with farmers and conservation partners. Altogether, over a third of all farms in the state participate in AEM. 


To start or continue with AEM , farmers connect with their local Soil and Water Conservation District to progress through the confidential, AEM conservation tiers, below:

  • Tier 1 – Inventory current activities, interests, and potential environmental concerns of the farmer. 
  • Tier 2 – Document current environmental stewardship and assess and prioritize areas of concern. 
  • Tier 3 – Develop conservation plans addressing concerns and opportunities tailored to farm goals. 
  • Tier 4 – Implement plans using available educational, technical, and financial assistance. 
  • Tier 5 – Evaluate practices and plans for conservation and farm viability. 


Local Soil and Water Conservation District contacts can be found here.


Funding for technical assistance and Tier 4 implementation is available through: 


A complete set of Tier 1 and 2 worksheets are linked on the AEM Resource Page. AEM Tiers 1 and 2 are designed to inventory current farm activities and interests and document environmental stewardship and opportunities for improvement.  AEM Tiers 1 and 2 are guided by farm-tested, science-based worksheets, based on conversations between farmers and conservation planners, and take a whole farm view. 

Additional AEM resources are linked below.


    AEM Brochure

    The Agricultural and Environmental Management Program links farmers with local conservation professionals to identify existing environmental stewardship, address natural resource concerns, and enhance farm viability. For qualifying farms, participation in AEM may also help promote farm products through New York State Grown & Certified.




    Agricultural Best Management Practices Catalogue

    Current New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Agricultural Best Management Practice (BMP) Systems Catalogue, the guiding document for best management practices available through Soil and Water Conservation Committee cost share programs.




    Manure Storage FAQ

    Frequently asked questions and answers regarding environmental standards and concerns, policy, and regulation of manure storage in New York State.



Contact the AEM Team

Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District to get involved.  Soil and Water Conservation District contacts can be found here.

Contact us by phone:

Office: (607) 229-4654

Contact us by email:

Mailing Address:

Greg Albrecht

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

10B Airline Drive

Albany, New York 12235