From staff reports
The state has awarded $20 million to implement water quality protection projects on 56 farms across the state.
The money was provided through the first round of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Waste Storage and Transfer System Program. It supports projects that will allow livestock farms to better manage and store nutrients, such as manure, to protect ground water and nearby waterways.
The program is a part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 which invests an unprecedented level of resources for drinking water, wastewater infrastructure and other water quality protections statewide.
“Agriculture remains a key part of New York’s economy and this funding will help farms in every corner of this state protect drinking water supplies and waterways, while also remaining competitive,” Cuomo said in making the award announcement Dec. 20.
“With this program, we are supporting New York’s economy and ensuring our essential natural resources are preserved for years to come,” he said.
Through the program, 61 waste storage and transfer systems will be installed on CAFO-permitted farms in 25 counties throughout the state. Grants will help offset the cost of construction, site preparation and associated best management practices.
Funded projects will also help farmers meet the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s new environmental requirements first announced in January of this year.
The money is being provided to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which applied on behalf of eligible farmers, in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York Regions.
A list of the award totals is available at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/Press%20Releases/CAFO_WST_System_Rnd1_Awards.pdf#_blank
“The grant money under the governor’s water infrastructure plan will build on the agricultural community’s strong record of environmental stewardship,” said David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau.
“The cost sharing assistance provides more flexibility on farms to manage nutrients, which helps protect water quality for all New Yorkers. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the public-private partnership, especially as livestock farmers are putting new environmental management plans in place to meet tougher CAFO regulations,” he said.
“One of the biggest responsibilities our farmers have is to be good stewards of the land and other natural resources they use. Through this funding, our state’s hardworking farmers can continue the important work they do to support New York’s leading industry, and at the same time, continue their efforts to be leaders when it comes to implementing environmentally safe practices,” said state Sen. Patty Ritchie, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“The governor’s historic clean water initiative is critical to ensuring the quality and sustainability of our natural resources and our farms,” said state Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball.
“We received more applications than we were able to fund through the first round of this program, which shows the strong commitment of our livestock operations to environmental stewardship," Ball said. "We look forward to releasing the second Request for Proposals in the coming year to benefit even more farms as they strive to maintain nutrient recycling year-round.”