The St. Lawrence County Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $439,943 to help farms protect lakes, streams and rivers from potential agricultural runoff.
The Environmental Protection Fund will provide the money, which was awarded by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. The nearly $440,000 is only a portion of a $12.2 million dollar package to be spread over 27 counties, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Well-managed farms are an integral part of New York’s economy and landscape,” Cuomo said. “Through this program, we are supporting farms across the state to put in place best practices when it comes to protecting water quality in their areas while ensuring the continued production of fresh, local food supply. Not only will these projects improve the environment, they will also help stimulate economic activity in the communities.”
The competitive grants provide funding to county soil and water conservation districts to address water quality challenges facing farms in priority watersheds throughout the state.
The conservation districts will utilize the state’s “Agricultural Environmental Management” framework to implement the grants. The districts will develop plans tailored to a farm’s goals and individual watershed needs and will establish practices and technologies to achieve those goals.
“Agriculture is a business and Governor Cuomo wants to make sure that the business of agriculture here in New York remains strong,” said Darrel J. Aubertine, state agriculture commissioner. “That said, it’s equally important that our agricultural sector does everything it can to adopt environmentally sound policies and practices. This important funding will help our state’s agricultural businesses do their jobs better and ensure that our state’s abundant natural resources are protected.”
Eligible projects include developing comprehensive nutrient management plans or implementing best management practice systems to protect water quality while maintaining the economic viability of the agricultural community. Examples of projects include grazing systems to prevent soil erosion, vegetative buffers along streams to filter runoff and nutrient management systems for watershed protection.