Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

September 30, 2015

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces More Than $2.5 Million for Agricultural Water Quality Conservation Projects in Central New York

Additional Funding Provided to Farms to Help Address Soil Quality and Encourage Greater Crop Yields

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced more than $2.5 million has been awarded to support 11 agricultural water quality conservation projects across Central New York, impacting 33 farms. The funding, announced following a successful roundtable discussion with County Soil and Water Conservation District members during Governor Cuomo’s Capital for a Day in Syracuse, will help ensure environmentally sustainable practices are being used on farm lands to restore and protect the state’s natural resources.

Capital for a Day was created by Governor Cuomo to bring state government directly to the people it serves.  The day-long event partnered state officials with residents, local leaders and stakeholders to examine first-hand the needs of a community and how New York State government can build upon its strengths and make a positive impact on its residents.

Commissioner Ball said, “We’re pleased to have met with our Soil and Water Conservation Districts to discuss how we can better help them meet their local conservation priorities. Central New York is home to numerous lakes and watersheds that need to be protected and the local Conservation Districts are our boots on the ground helping to ensure conservation efforts in the region.  We look forward to our continued partnership with the Districts to address the critical issues of water and soil quality across the Central New York.”

A total of $2,530,858 was awarded to four County Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Central New York through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program in support of projects that prevent pollution, reduce erosion and limit harmful sediments and other nutrients in New York’s waterways. Funding can be used for environmental planning or best management practices such as agricultural waste storage systems, riparian buffer systems, conservation cover crops and structural soil conservation practices.

Program funds are provided by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, with County Soil and Water Conservation Districts applying to the Department for the competitive grants on behalf of farmers.   

In addition, the Department also announced $50,000 in funding for Cayuga and Madison County Soil and Water Conservation Districts through the Ecosystem Based Management Soil Health Mini Grants program to develop initiatives that address soil quality, encourage greater crop yields and protect water resources from pollution.

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. 

The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program and the Soil Health Mini Grants 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.

2015 Press Releases