Friday, April 14, 2017

3 Onondaga County Farms Receive Climate Grant Money

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Three farms in Onondaga County will benefit from more than $151,000 awarded through round two of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program. 

Launched in 2015, the program help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and better prepare for and recover after extreme weather events.
As part of this 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 the Central New York region include:  
Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District

  • $112,577 – The district will work with two farms (Fesko Farms in Spafford and Elmer Richards and Sons farm in Marcellus) to install ponds to increase water capacity and improve the farms’ resiliency in future drought conditions. The ponds will also help farmers avoid hauling water to remote locations and provide fire protection and stormwater management for rural communities.
  • $39,381 – The district will work with one farm (Kinsale Beef Farm in Pompey) to implement a 75-acre prescribed grazing system to increase soil health and reduce farm-based greenhouse gas emissions.

Awarded projects focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting energy savings and soil health. 

One project awarded also focuses on water management to mitigate the effects of periods of drought on crops and livestock following last summer’s severe dry conditions.
The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is funded through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. During Earth Week in April 2015, $1.4 million in awards were announced 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.

"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," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"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 priorities of Central New York and the region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative blueprint to grow the agricultural industry and boost the economy," he said.
"This past summer, New York farms saw unprecedented drought conditions, with many suffering crop loss and increased costs," said Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. "This program will help farmers better manage for droughts and floods that are becoming more common, while reducing their environmental footprint and protecting our surrounding natural resources."
"The drought of 2016 was the second major drought in our area in four years. Not only will these two new sources of water keep farms and livestock hydrated, they will benefit fish and other aquatic life by not removing water from streams," said Mark Burger, executive director of the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District. 

"This will allow for the stream levels to be as deep as possible and for the water temperatures to ultimately be colder for aquatic life. These two new farm ponds will also provide additional water for fire protection in their rural communities," Burger said.

Funding also was provided to some Southern Tier farms. Read that story at this link.

In Western New York, the following projects were funded:

Projects awarded in the Finger Lakes region include:

Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District

  • $145,981 – The district will work with three farms to install water and sediment control basins and associated practices to direct, slow, and diffuse concentrated water flows. This will also reduce all forms of erosion and reduce soil loss, sediment delivery, and nutrient and pathogen runoff to nearby waterways.
  • $226,500  The district will work with one farm to install a sustainable irrigation system to help the farm be more resilient in overcoming drought conditions on 500 acres of the farm’s most vulnerable soils. This will allow the farm to improve crop cover and density, which are key components to building carbon rich healthy soils.
  • $32,010  The district will work with one farm to implement a pond expansion to improve resiliency during drought conditions and ensure the farm has a continuous supply of water in the future. It will also prevent the need to truck supplemental water to the farm and hold higher rates of runoff water that would otherwise impact downstream communities.

Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District
$44,790 – The District will work with three farms to implement soil health practice systems, including implementing 500 acres of cover crops to build healthy soils and improve soil carbon sequestration. As a result, the projects will also reduce farm-based greenhouse gas emissions and improve resiliency to the farm during periods of flood and drought. 

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