New York state has $13.8 million in funding to help more than 200 farms across New York implement enhanced soil and water conservation practices, which in turn will protect state’s waterways.
These competitive grants were awarded to 32 county soil and water conservation districts, and provided by the state Soil and Water Conservation Committee and the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Included in the funding is $520,970 for Washington County.
“Investing in our farms will help keep our agricultural industry competitive while maintaining the high standards of agricultural products that the Empire State is known for,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “By enhancing conservation methods, we are ensuring the continued economic success of our farms as well as the protection of our natural resources. These grants will not only have an immediate effect on our agricultural sector but will also make New York a cleaner, greener, more sustainable state for future generations.”
“Farmers rely on high quality soil and water resources for their operations,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “The relationship between county soil and water conservation districts and farms spans generations. I’ve relied on them for my own operations and thousands of other farmers have as well. This state funding will help facilitate the highly important partnerships between farmers and their districts now and in the future.”
George Proios, Chairman of the State Soil & Water Conservation Committee, said the recent approval of funding “will help many farmers in their continuing effort to be better stewards of their lands, while helping to maintain the economic viability of their farms.”
Officials said the competitive grants will provide funding to county soil and water conservation districts to address water quality challenges facing farms in priority watersheds throughout the state. All projects support the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) framework by funding the implementation of agricultural water quality best management practices to protect natural resources while maintaining the economic viability of the state’s diverse agricultural community.
Conservation districts have developed plans tailored to a farm’s goals and watershed needs. Officials said districts will work with farmers to implement conservation best management practices such as nutrient management systems, barnyard runoff management, pasture management and soil health management.