Soil and Water Conservation Districts across New York state will be able to address soil quality in their counties, and develop initiatives that will encourage greater crop yields and protect water resources from pollution with a new state grant.
Counties can apply for grant funds of up to $25,000 per district for these plans through the Ecosystem Based Management Soil Health Mini Grants program.
Soil quality has become a leading concern for the agriculture industry on a national level. Healthy soils hold the potential to produce greater crop yields while protecting water resources from polluted runoff. In addition, crops growing in healthy soils require less fertilizer and are better able to withstand both floods and droughts.
Through the Soil Health Mini Grants program, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts can develop their own programs to increase the adoption of healthy soil practices.
These programs can range from soil health testing to farmer equipment loan programs. The Soil Health Mini Grants are designed to allow the flexibility needed to establish programs that will have long-term residual impacts on the adoption of soil health practices.
Improving soil health can be accomplished by reducing tillage and keeping a living crop on the field all year.
Farmers interested in soil health should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District to learn about the many opportunities available to improve soil quality in New York at http://www.nys-soilandwater.
The deadline to apply is June 15, 2015. Money is being being made available from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.