ALBANY — New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced two grant opportunities totaling $28.5 million for projects that will help New York’s farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate water and soil quality concerns, and increase on-farm resiliency to climate change.
Commissioner Ball said, “Our farmers are at the forefront of meaningful, sustainable efforts to preserve our natural resources and combat the effects of climate change. These grant opportunities will go a long way toward helping New York’s farmers continue to implement best practices and smart environmental management planning. An investment in our environment is an investment in our agricultural industry, and this funding will help ensure farms can remain competitive, profitable, and sustainable.”
These grant opportunities will go a long way toward helping New York’s farmers continue to transition to best practices and implement smart environmental management planning. An investment in our environment is an investment in our agricultural industry, and this funding will help ensure farms can remain competitive and profitable.”
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Historically, farmers have pioneered conservation in response to environmental challenges and New York’s farmers are now advancing solutions to the existential challenge of our changing climate and impacts that range from drought, flooding, and extreme heat and cold to the migration of invasive pests. The grant opportunities announced today will support projects that address the climate challenge and advance sustainable practices to improve the health and resiliency of New York’s farms, ecosystems, and communities.”
Climate Resilient Farming
Now in its seventh round, the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program helps farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and address the impacts of extreme weather events resulting from climate change. Round 7 will offer $15 million, up from $8 million in the last round of the program, to help farmers implement agricultural projects and make related equipment purchases that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support soil health and improved water quality. Projects will also help agricultural producers prepare for and better manage impacts of climate change, including increased heavy storm events, overall rainfall, and periods of drought.
This year’s program emphasizes precision feed management and agroforestry, two best management practices that are identified in the New York State Climate Action Council’s Scoping Plan as critical to helping increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gases on farm.
The Climate Resilient Farming Grant program eligibility has also been expanded by updating the definition of a farm operation to include urban agriculture and non-traditional operations. Urban agriculture is an increasingly important focus area for the Department as it continues its work to grow a more resilient food supply system. In addition, new and beginning farmers are being prioritized for this funding opportunity.
Funding is available in three tracks:
Track 1 – $5 million for Livestock Management: Alternative Waste Management and Precision Feed Management (previously Agricultural Waste Storage Cover and Flare System)
- Projects will reduce methane emissions from the farm and increase the farm’s resiliency to major precipitation events.
Track 2 – $6 million for Adaptation and Resiliency (previously Water Management Systems)
- Projects will help prepare agricultural producers for the impacts of a changing climate such as flood events and drought.
Track 3 – $4 million for Healthy Soils NY (systems and BMPs that support soil health and agroforestry)
- Projects will improve soil health on farms and enhance a farm’s resiliency to the impacts of climate change, including benefits during times of drought, wet weather, as well as optimal growing conditions. Soil health practices can also create carbon sinks, increase water holding capacity, and improve recycling of nitrogen by crops, thereby mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
Through six rounds of funding to date, $20.4 million has been awarded to on-farm projects that are estimated to deliver the equivalent of 387,571 metric tons of CO2e per year emissions reductions, equivalent to removing 83,510 cars from the road for one year.
The State’s County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can apply now on behalf of farmers for these competitive grants. The application and additional information are available on the Department’s website at https://agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities.
Project proposals are due at 4:30 p.m. on August 7, 2023.
Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Abatement and Control Program
In addition to the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program funding, an additional $13.5 million is available to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the State through Round 29 of the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. Through 28 rounds of funding to date, $237 million has been awarded to on-farm projects.
The Agricultural Nonpoint program awards projects that focus on either environmental planning or the implementation of best management practice systems to protect New York’s watersheds. Projects include conservation measures, such as nutrient management through manure storage, vegetative buffers along streams, and conservation cover crops.
The State’s County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can apply on behalf of farmers for this competitive grant program, which is also funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. The application and additional information are available on the Department’s website at https://agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities.
Project proposals are due at 4:30 p.m. on June 26, 2023.
Executive Budget Proposal
Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed funding for both the CRF and Ag Non-Point programs in the 2023-24 Executive Budget, through a $400 million investment in the Environmental Protection Fund. She has also proposed additional funding from $14.5 million to $16 million for the County Soil and Water Conservation Districts to further assist our farmers in their leadership to elevate water quality and fight against climate change.
Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “Farming and caring for the land our crops grow on go hand in hand. The funds being made available today will help New York’s farmers continue to invest in sustainable practices while preserving our state’s critical natural resources. Every farm truly makes a difference, which is why our county Soil and Water Conservation Districts will continue to work with our farmers to adopt sustainable important agricultural practices that will keep our wildlife, land, and water safe for generations to come.”
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, in coordination with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, administers the Climate Resilient Farming Program and 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 Climate Resilient Farming Program and Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program function 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.
–New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets