ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $15 million is available to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the State. The announcement, made in conjunction with Earth Week, comes as the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program marks its 25th anniversary. Since the program’s creation in 1994, the State has dedicated nearly $220 million to the program to protect New York’s waterways. Several agricultural environmental programs have since been modeled after the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program, helping New York lead the nation in environmental stewardship.
“New York’s agriculture industry is critical to regional economies throughout the state and this funding will support our farmers as they produce some of the best products in the nation while also protecting our waterways,” Governor Cuomo said. “25 years after this program was created under Governor Mario Cuomo, New York continues to demonstrate that it is possible to be a leader in both agricultural production and environmental protection.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Twenty five years ago, New York State made a commitment to protect our agricultural water sources through the Ag Non-Point Program, which has since become a model replicated by other states. The Senate Majority is proud to support investments in water quality protection efforts and remains committed to protecting our state’s environment and resources for future generations.”
“As we continue to celebrate Earth Week, New York is investing in projects to ensure healthy and safe water,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This funding will continue our efforts protect waterways and enhance agricultural programs across the state. We are working to make sure that our water and our environment is clean and protected for generations to come.”
The state’s Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program awards water quality protection projects that focus on environmental planning and best management practice systems. Projects include conservation measures, such as nutrient management through manure storage, vegetative buffers along streams and conservation cover crops. County Soil and Water Conservation Districts apply on behalf of farmers for the grants.
The program is funded through the historic $300 million New York State Environmental Protection Fund. Since its inception, New York State has dedicated approximately $219 million to Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement Control Program, including $18 million in the 2019-2020 Budget.
When the program first launched in 1994, approximately $350,000 was awarded to 10 projects, and 17 best management practices were implemented. In the most recent round of funding, 55 projects were approved, and 607 best management practices were implemented. Overall, the program has supported projects covering 500 separate watersheds across the State.
New York State has since expanded its environmental conservation efforts on farmland, with several additional programs using the successful nonpoint program as a model. Those cost-sharing programs include Climate Resilient Farming, CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer Systems, the Source Water Buffer Program and Farmland Protection.
Over the past 25 years, New York State has supported 1,000 manure storage projects to help farms actively balance nutrient supply and crop nutrient demand, benefiting the environment and enhancing farm viability. More than 750 riparian buffers have been created to filter nutrients and sediment, protecting surface water, stabilizing streambanks, improving aquatic habitat and reducing impacts from flooding. In addition, more than 50,000 acres of cover crops have been planted to help prevent erosion, improve soil health and increase organic matter in the soil, which retains more moisture for crop demand through the growing season.
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program also complements the Governor’s efforts to provide historic water quality protections across the state through the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017. This includes up to $50 million to implement water quality protection on New York State’s livestock farms through the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer Systems program.
Details on Round 25 are available through the Department of Agriculture and Markets website . All applications and related documents must be submitted through the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee website by the deadline, July 22, 2019. For additional details about this program and other natural resource protection programs, please contact a .
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Our farmers are recognized nationally for their stewardship, and they go to great lengths to care for the natural resources that they rely on to earn a living. We appreciate Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for supporting those efforts and recognizing the importance of funding this program, and others like it, so farmers can increase their profitability and competitiveness while protecting our land.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC has been working with New York farmers to implement conservation projects to safeguard our waters and ensure the resiliency of our farms. This significant investment by Governor Cuomo continues his goal to ensure farmers remain profitable and builds upon the state’s historic commitment to protect water quality throughout the state.”
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “For 25 years the Nonpoint grant program has been helping farmers with cost-sharing to install best management programs on their farms — making New York State the leader in environmental sustainability for farmers and the generations that follow them on their farms. When the grant program started 25 years ago it gave out $300,000 today the 25th round will give out over $15,000,000. I urge all farmers that are thinking about installing a best management program on their farm to talk to their local Soil and Water District to see if they could apply for this round of non-point source grants.”
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, “Every day is Earth Day for New York farmers who make environmental stewardship a priority. The new round of funding through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program will support that long tradition of improving sustainability on the farm. Farms use this resource to implement programs that reduce soil erosion and protect our state’s waterways. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the continued support from the Governor for this essential program.”
Senator Jen Metzger, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “The $15 million investment by the State in water quality improvement projects underscores New York’s commitment to sustainability in agriculture and to the protection of our rivers, streams, and aquifers. As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am thrilled that our farmers will have access to these critical funds so that they can continue their unique and critical role in promoting environmental stewardship.”
Assembly Member Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, said, “New York is committed to protecting two of our most important assets: our agricultural economy and our most precious natural resource- water. Implementing best environmental practices can often be costly, but programs like this provide farmers with the resources needed to make their operations more sustainable. I’d like to thank of all the partners in state government for their ongoing commitment to providing consistent funding and support for water quality management.”
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program through its Land and Water Division, which works to protect New York’s land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation and proactive environmental stewardship. The program is managed by the Department in coordination with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee.
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program functions as part of the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) framework, a broader effort that helps farmers achieve higher levels of environmental stewardship and more efficient, cost-effective farming systems. County Soil and Water Conservation Districts use the AEM framework to assist interested farmers through planning and implementation to make science-based and cost-effective decisions. As a result, farmers can meet business goals while conserving the state’s natural resources.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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