Weekly Feature

2017-04-19 / Business

Grant program to benefit county farms

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday said farms in Erie and Wyoming counties will benefit from more than $179,000 awarded through round two of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program.

Launched by the governor in 2015, according to a press release, 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,” Cuomo said in the release. “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 needs of hard-working farmers in Erie and Wyoming counties.”

As part of the 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 Western New York include:

Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District, $147,430. The district will work with two specialty crop farms to install micro-irrigation systems on approximately 104 acres of cropland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve on-farm efficiency of water use, application and delivery. The systems will also allow the delivery of water-soluble fertilizers in the irrigation water, reducing the potential for nitrate to leach into ground water.

The release said the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is funded through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

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.

Mark Gaston, Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District field manager, said the CRF grant program is yet another tool in the toolbox of conservation districts to assist farms and minimize environmental risk in an uncertain climate.

“Under the Agricultural Environmental Management framework, districts can be ready for new resource challenges, such as increased risk of flooding, prolonged drought, and more intensive pest and weed pressure,” Gaston said.

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