NY awards $20 million to support water quality on farms

Press release
December 21, 2017
By Press release
December 21, 2017, Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that $20 million has been awarded to implement water quality protection projects on 56 farms across the state.

The funding was provided through the first round of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation 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 the $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," Governor Cuomo said. "With this program, we are supporting New York's economy and ensuring our essential natural resources are preserved for years to come."

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 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's new environmental requirements first announced in January of this year.

The funding 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.

"This grant program will assist dairy and livestock farmers to better protect critical natural resources and to meet the State's important environmental regulations," said New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein. "Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts are excited to partner with farmers to implement these projects and promote best management practices across the state."

New York State has more than 500 CAFO farms, most of which are dairy farms with 300 or more cows. CAFOs can also include other livestock operations such as beef, poultry and equine farms that meet regulatory thresholds. Grant funding for the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program is available over three consecutive application rounds. The Department of Agriculture and Markets will launch a second and third application period for an additional $15 million in both 2018 and 2019.

In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets along with the Department of Environmental Conservation have developed an informational document to educate communities on the importance of manure storage facilities to maintain New York State's environmental standards. Manure storage provides farmers with more flexibility to apply manure at optimum times – after a crop is harvested and when weather and field conditions present a low risk of run-off – for efficient uptake and recycling by crops. Storing manure makes it possible for farmers to better achieve a higher level of nutrient management and maintain environmental protections. The fact sheet can be found here.

The Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 invests $2.5 billion in critical water infrastructure across New York State. This historic investment in drinking water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure and source water protection actions will enhance community health and wellness, safeguard the State's most important water resources, and create jobs. Funding for projects will prioritize regional and watershed level solutions, and incentivize consolidation and sharing of water and wastewater services.

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