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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that $16.8 million has been awarded to support 54 agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state. The funding, which will benefit 131 farms, serves to help farmers with projects that prevent pollution of New York's waterways. Included is $572,805 to the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District to work with one farm in the Owasco watershed.

"Agriculture is one of New York's greatest economic drivers, and we will continue to assist farmers across the state as they work to deliver quality products while also conserving our treasured natural resources," Governor Cuomo said. "As the fight against climate change continues, New York is committed to leading the nation in agricultural best-practices that support hardworking farmers and protect the environment."

The Tompkins County project will:
  • Greatly reduce nutrient leaching and runoff and facilitate improved nutrient management
  • Assist in mitigating water quality concerns and address goals established in the Owasco Lake Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)

"It's critical that we ensure our waterways are free of contaminants and safe for all New Yorkers," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This investment for projects on farms statewide will support conservation efforts to enhance and protect water quality. We want to make sure that farmers have the resources they need to prevent pollution and ensure the health and safety of residents."

More than two dozen County Soil and Water Conservation Districts applied on behalf of farmers for the grants awarded through the state's Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. The program serves to award projects that assist with environmental planning or implementing best management practice systems, such as nutrient management through manure storage, vegetative buffers along streams, conservation cover crops and other soil conservation measures.

Round 24 of grants for the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program were awarded to:

  • North Country: $4,057,532 for 11 projects
  • Central New York: $3,406,650 for 11 projects
  • Finger Lakes: $3,013,527 for 13 projects
  • Western New York: $2,738,209 for six projects
  • Mohawk Valley: $1,421,801 for seven projects
  • Capital Region: $893,800 for two projects
  • Long Island: $663,786 for two projects
  • Southern Tier: $634,175 for two projects

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 is funded in the 2017-18 State Budget through the historic $300 million New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Since 1993, New York State has dedicated approximately $193 million to the program. The 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 several stages of 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.

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