Governor Cuomo today announced $12.2 million that will help 209 farms in 27 counties to protect New York's lakes, streams and rivers from potential agricultural runoff. This assistance is awarded through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
Well-managed farms are an integral part of New Yorks economy and landscape, Governor Cuomo said. Through this program, we are supporting farms across the state to put in place best practices when it comes to protecting water quality in their areas while ensuring the continued production of fresh, local food supply. Not only will these projects improve the environment, they will also help stimulate economic activity in the communities.
State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, Agriculture is a business and Governor Cuomo wants to make sure that the business of agriculture here in New York remains strong. That said, it's equally important that our agricultural sector does everything it can to adopt environmentally sound policies and practices. This important funding will help our states agricultural businesses do their jobs better and ensure that our states abundant natural resources are protected.
These competitive grants provide funding to county Soil and Water Conservation Districts to address water quality challenges facing farms in priority watersheds throughout the state. The Conservation Districts utilize the State?s Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) framework to implement the grants. Conservation Districts will develop plans tailored to a farm's goals and watershed needs and will establish practices and technologies to achieve those goals.
Eligible projects include those that develop comprehensive nutrient management plans or implement best management practice systems to protect water quality while maintaining the economic viability of New York?s diverse agricultural community. Examples of projects include grazing systems to prevent soil erosion, vegetative buffers along streams to filter runoff, and nutrient management systems for watershed protection.
George Proios, NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chairman, said, Investing state funds in these projects makes it possible for County Soil and Water Districts to employ conservation on the ground, which often does as much for the local economy as it does for the environment. This work helps our farms thrive, supporting jobs and local businesses, while also protecting the State's natural resources, enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said, Farmers are great stewards of the land they depend on for their livelihood. They understand the need for clean water and soil conservation on a very personal level. The grants announced today by Governor Cuomo will help keep farms and working landscapes profitable, while furthering our mutual interest in a better environment for future generations.
Conservation Districts across the Finger Lakes were awarded grants as follows:
Cayuga County Soil & Water Conservation District $723,651
Chemung County Soil & Water Conservation District $389,000
Cortland County Soil & Water Conservation District $863,840
Livingston County Soil & Water Conservation District $109,575
Onondaga County Soil & Water Conservation District $499,710
Seneca County Soil & Water Conservation District $140,283
Steuben County Soil & Water Conservation District $163,700
Tioga County Soil & Water Conservation District $169,166
Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation District $147,736
Yates County Soil & Water Conservation District $383,237
Ontario County was not listed.