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

October 01, 2015

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces Nearly $165,000 to Promote Soil Health and Encourage Crop Yields

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced $164,855 in funding has been awarded to Soil and Water Conservation Districts across New York State to address soil quality in their counties.  Seven Conservation Districts will receive grants of up to $25,000 through the Ecosystem Based Management Soil Health Grants program to develop initiatives that will encourage greater crop yields and protect water resources from pollution. 

Commissioner Ball said, “As a farmer, I understand the critical need to maintain healthy soils, and I commend our Soil and Water Conservation Districts for their partnership with our state’s agricultural producers to implement these projects.  By working together, we can continue to increase awareness of the importance of soil for food security and environmental sustainability in New York State.”

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 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 cost assistance for farmers prepared to try new practices.  The Soil Health 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. 

Soil and Water Conservation Districts awarded include:

  • Cayuga County - $25,000
  • Delaware County - $21,050
  • Tioga County - $25,000
  • Wayne County - $25,000
  • Madison County - $25,000
  • St. Lawrence County - $20,295
  • Genesee County - $23,510

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

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets administers 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