The goal of the Climate Resilient Farming (CRF) Program is to reduce the impact of agriculture on climate change (mitigation) and to increase the resiliency of New York State farms in the face of a changing climate (adaptation).
Program grant funds are available for projects that mitigate the impact of agriculture on climate change for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and carbon sequestration, in addition to enhancing the on-farm adaptation and resiliency to projected climate conditions due to heavy storm events, rainfall, and drought.
The program is a competitive grant program, with funds applied for and awarded through county Soil and Water Conservation Districts on behalf of farmers in one of three project categories: agricultural waste storage cover and flare for methane reduction, on-farm water management, and soil health systems. Projects that may have historically applied for the Agricultural Non-point Source Abatement and Control program may be able to fill funding gaps through the CRF. State funds come from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.
Estimates of annual greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (apart from agricultural energy use, which is classified differently) in New York State range from 5.3 to 5.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Manure management is responsible for roughly 15% of the emissions; emissions from soils are slightly under a third of the total. There is a major opportunity to reduce emissions. The Climate Resilient Farming program capitalizes on the opportunities to mitigate agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions while strengthening the resiliency of New York State’s farms.
While New York State is projected to see increased precipitation overall, it is expected to come in short, extreme precipitation events in between mild droughts. This represents a major risk to farms, particularly those in low-lying or flood prone areas. Even very local downpours and cloud bursts can cause substantial damage to farms.