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Thursday, January 28, 2016

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $11 million is available to protect soil and water resources through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. These grants will assist farmers in implementing the best management practices to address water quality challenges in priority watersheds throughout New York State while increasing productivity and economic activity.

Andrew M. Cuomo
“The agricultural industry is a major economic driver in New York and our farmers must have access to the resources they need to grow and improve their operations,” Gov. Cuomo said. “By providing this critical funding to farms across the state, we are helping this industry remain competitive, while protecting our natural resources and continuing our production of quality agricultural products in New York.”

The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program is funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, which the Governor proposes to increase to $300 million in this year’s Executive Budget. This proposal would more than double the level of the EPF since 2011, and increase funding for agricultural water quality programming by nearly $5 million.

Grants will be awarded to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts for environmental planning or to implement best management practices such as agricultural waste storage systems, riparian buffer systems, conservation cover crops and structural soil conservation practices.

The program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. It is a part of the Agricultural Environmental Management framework, a broader effort that helps farmers achieve better water quality and more effective farming systems. The Districts use the AEM framework to assist farmers with the planning and implementation of environmental improvement projects in a cost effective manner. As a result, farmers are able to meet business goals while protecting and conserving the State’s natural resources.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “This program received a record number of applications in the last round, demonstrating the agricultural community’s growing commitment to environmental stewardship. These important projects help prevent water pollution, reduce erosion and limit harmful sediments and other nutrients in New York’s waterways, while supporting the growth of the agricultural community. Looking forward, we’re excited that this program will also be a critical component in helping the State advance the Governor’s newly proposed New York Certified High Quality Foods initiative.”

Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “County soil and water conservation districts play a vital role in helping New York's farmers implement best management practices to protect the state's waterways while allowing farmers to provide families across the state with fresh, local food. These funds will provide farmers the tools they need to continue the important services they provide, while ensuring the environment is protected."

Chair of the NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, "The AgNPS Program is a stable funding source that provides important resources to New York State farmers for projects that greatly benefit soil and water quality. New York State Soil and Water Conservation Districts appreciate this funding as well as increased funding each year to the Environmental Protection Fund.”

County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can now apply for the AgNPS Program through the Department of Agriculture and Markets website here. All appropriate materials must be submitted through the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Sharepoint website by April 1, 2016.

For additional details about this program and other natural resource protection programs, please contact the local County Soil and Water Conservation District. A complete listing of County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can be found here.

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