ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that eight farms in Schuyler, Broome and Chenango counties will benefit from more than $390,000 awarded through round two of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program. Launched by the Governor in 2015, the program help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and better prepare for and recover after extreme weather events.
“This funding will help protect and preserve New York’s natural resources by supporting farms and addressing the unpredictable conditions and challenges of climate change,” Governor Cuomo said. “As New York continues to lead the nation in environmental protection, these grants not only build on our efforts to create a cleaner, greener, more resilient state – they address the priorities of the Southern Tier and the region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative blueprint to grow the agricultural industry and boost the economy.”
As part of this second round of funding, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts in six regions across the state were awarded a total of more than $1.5 million in grants on behalf of farmers in one of the following project categories: agricultural waste storage cover and flare, on-farm water management, and soil health systems.
Projects awarded in the Southern Tier region include:
Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District
$295,200 – The District will work with a dairy farm to install a manure storage cover and flare system that will dramatically reduce methane emissions from the farm’s manure storage, mitigate water quality concerns, and recycle the clean rainwater/snowmelt to be used for irrigation and promote energy savings.
Broome County Soil and Water Conservation District
$28,775 – The District will work with three farms to implement cover crops to improve soil health, reduce erosion and increase soil organic matter.
Chenango County Soil and Water Conservation District
$67,716 – The District will work with four farms to plant 1,015 acres of cover crops over a three year period to improve soil quality, reduce erosion, increase soil organic matter and improve resiliency to the farm during periods of flood and drought.
Projects awarded focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting energy savings and soil health. Two of the projects awarded focus on implementing cover crops to mitigate the effects of periods of drought or floods on crops and livestock following last summer’s severe dry conditions.
The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and was first announced by Governor Cuomo Opportunity Agenda. During Earth Week in April 2015, the Governor announced $1.4 million in awards through the first round of the program to support 11 projects on farms across five regions. All 11 projects are currently underway to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate water and soil quality concerns.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “This past summer, New York farms saw unprecedented drought conditions, with many suffering crop loss and increased costs. This grant program will help farmers better manage for droughts and floods that are becoming more common, while reducing their environmental footprint and protecting our surrounding natural resources.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie said, “Farmers across the state were severely impacted by last year’s devastating drought and are still recovering from its effects. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball for recognizing the need for this critical funding, which will allow farmers to better prepare themselves with the necessary tools for any extreme weather they may encounter.”
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee said, “As they continue to prepare for and adapt to the changes in their environment, New York farmers facing the challenge of climate change will better be able to manage the detrimental effects of extreme weather conditions such as flooding and drought with a leg-up from the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program.”
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “The Climate Resilient Farming program is an innovative program that helps New York’s farmers adapt their farms to the changing climate. Through the program, farms are able to implement projects that help them manage through periods of extreme weather, from severe storms to severe drought, and that reduce greenhouse gas production and promote increased soil health. New York State is leading the nation in helping farms preserve, protect and promote the environment for the generations that follow us.”
David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President, said, “Farmers have long dealt with whatever Mother Nature throws at them, but weather conditions in recent years have been tough and extreme. The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program will help new York farms continue to lead the way on environmental stewardship while at the same time improving their ability to weather both the wet and dry conditions that can threaten their livelihoods.”
Jerry Verrigni, Schuyler County Soil and Water District Manager, said, “It is a great opportunity to participate in the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program. This unique preventative approach is a benefit to not only to agriculture, one of the State’s top industries, but it also provides a large benefit to our entire community in the form of flood resiliency, as well as water and air quality protection. The vast increase in high intensity short duration storms in our area makes this type of program the highest priority for our community.”
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today’s announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest.
Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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