Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $2.3 million in funding is available through round four of the Climate Resilient Farming grant program for farmers in New York State. The grants will help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and better prepare for and recover after extreme weather events. Since the launch of the program in 2015, a total of $5.1 million has been provided to 40 projects across the state, helping 70 farms implement critical projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy savings, mitigate water and soil quality concerns and increase on-farm resiliency to climate change.
“Extreme weather is the new normal and it is becoming more and more unpredictable each year,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding is vital to helping farmers mitigate the impact of climate change and allows them to take the necessary measures to protect their crops and livestock from damage caused by extreme weather while also helping reduce their environmental footprint.”
“Our farmers produce some of the best local products in the world, and we want to make sure they have the resources they need to operate efficiently,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This grant program will help to reduce environmental impacts of farms and better prepare for extreme weather events to ensure their continued success. We are committed to continuing to expand the agriculture industry across the state, while advancing our efforts to combat climate change.”
The fourth round of grants are funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund. They were authorized at a historic level, with $300 million approved in the 2018-19 State Budget. Moreover, the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2020 Executive Budget proposes an additional $5 million for Climate Resilient Farming program projects.
Through the Climate Resilient Farming grant program, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts apply for the competitive grants on behalf of farmers. Projects can focus on reducing carbon footprints, saving energy, improving soil health, increasing irrigation capacity and emphasizing water management to mitigate the effects of drought, as well as heavy rainfall and flooding, on crops and livestock.
Examples of projects eligible for funding are:
- Methane reduction tactics, such as using manure storage covers and methane flares
- Water management practice systems consisting of stream bank stabilization, stream side forested buffers and irrigation water systems
- Soil health practice systems, including cover crop planting, conservation tillage and managed rotational grazing
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Climate Resilient Farming grant 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.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “We thank Governor Cuomo for continuing to help our farmers combat climate change and weather extreme events like storms, flooding, heat waves and cold, which directly impact our crops and livestock. These grants help farmers protect their land and investments from these impacts and cope with damages caused by severe weather.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Jen Metzger said, “Our farmers are on the frontlines of climate change and have a huge stake in mitigating the severity of the threat and strengthening their own resilience to its impacts. The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program provides them with invaluable support, empowering farmers to improve their operations’ environmental footprint and enhance their readiness and recovery to extreme weather events.”
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Donna Lupardo said, “Our farms are on the front lines of climate change and the impact of extreme weather has made their work infinitely more difficult. These grants will allow our County Soil and Water Conservation Districts to help farmers protect their crops and livestock, while making improvements that will also preserve the environment. These investments will certainly pay back dividends down the road.”
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, “As true stewards of the land, New York farmers will benefit from the Climate Resilient Farming program grants announced today. These grants will help farmers utilize cover crops, build their soil health and reduce erosion on their land, as well as other on-farm efforts, which will help reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint.”
New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein said, “The Climate Resilient Farming program helps farmers who want to go above and beyond normal conservation programs, and address climate change as it relates directly to their farms and things they can accomplish on their farm to reduce their contribution to that change. It also helps them prepare their farms to weather the changes by working with their local Soil and Water Conservation District and better prepare for the future.”