11/14/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/14/2023 07:29
Program Funding Doubled from Last Year, Helping 116 Farms to Increase Environmental Sustainability and Resilience to Extreme Weather Events
Selected Projects Will Reduce Greenhouse Gases by an Estimated 64,000 Metric Tons Per Year
Supports Governor's Nation-Leading Climate Agenda and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced nearly $16 million is being awarded through Round 7 of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program to help 116 farms across the state address the impacts of climate change. The Climate Resilient Farming Program is a part of the State's Agricultural Environmental Management framework that is locally led by county Soil and Water Conservation Districts and participating farmers. The selected projects will reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 64,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year - or as much as eliminating over 14,000 cars from the road for one year, increase environmental sustainability, and boost resiliency to extreme weather events related to climate change. Funding for the program was doubled in the New York State FY 2023 Enacted Budget as part of the State's aggressive climate agenda.
"New York's agricultural industry istoo often faced with severe challenges associated with our changing climate, from flooding to droughts that impact their crops and their livelihood," Governor Hochul said."The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program is addressing these challenges head on, helping our farmers to implement projects that prevent weather-related damage and also ensure our farmers are part of the solution to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing their environmental footprint."
Through seven rounds of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program, including this latest round, nearly $36 million has been awarded to assist 386 farms across New York State to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil health and promote energy savings. Projects also increase irrigation capacity and emphasize water management to mitigate the effects of periods of drought on crops and livestock, as well as heavy rainfall and flooding.
For example, since the program began, nearly 100,000 acres of cover crops have been awarded on 178 farms to help control erosion, sequester carbon, and improve soil health, additionally, 156 acres of riparian forest buffers are planned across 49 farms to protect crops from flood damage, among other benefits.
County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) were awarded the grants on behalf of farmers in one of three tracks: livestock management for methane reduction; adaptation and resiliency projects to help farms withstand climate change driven weather extremes; and Healthy Soils NY to boost soil organic matter, sequester carbon, reduce soil erosion and nutrient pollution in waterways, and increase crop yields.
The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program follows the State's Agricultural Environmental Management planning framework and is led and implemented by county SWCDs. County SWCDs work with farms and communities to conserve natural resources and address pressing environmental challenges and opportunities.
SWCDs in the following regions were awarded Round 7 grants for the Climate Resilient Farming Program:
For a complete list and descriptions of projects awarded, please visit the Department of Agriculture and Markets' website.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program continues to provide real solutions in our battle to fight climate change and to provide protections to our farmers who face real hardship following the increasing number of severe weather events we have seen here in New York over the years. I'm thankful to Governor Hochul and to our Legislature who continue to support the State's climate agenda and the programs that are increasing our environmental sustainability."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program through the Department of Agriculture and Markets is providing farmers with the resources they need to bolster the State's efforts to combat climate change with funding to increase resilience and improve sustainability on New York's farms. Farmers play a big role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring a clean environment and healthy food, and advancing a greener future for New Yorkers. The grant program announced today underscores Governor Hochul's commitment to investing in the agricultural sector and its ongoing efforts to help fight climate change and advance sustainability."
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "New York's farmers fully understand the ramifications of climate change on their farms and their roles in both mitigating its impacts and reducing their carbon footprint. The Climate Resilient Farming Program assists farms in both of these efforts, helping farms to implement best management practices that build on a record of strong environmental management. New York Farm Bureau thanks Gov. Hochul for her continued support of the program as well as the Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state who are our valuable partners."
State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, "Our farmers are the first witness of a changing climate, and they need our continued support to help scale the most effective methods for environmental stewardship and resilience against extreme weather. The Climate Resilient Farming Grant program is instrumental in this effort, assisting farmers across the state, including in my district, where two Ulster County vegetable farms are transitioning from diesel to electric irrigation pumps. I thank Governor Hochul, Ag & Markets, and our local Soil and Water Conservation Districts for their partnership in helping more farmers contribute significantly to our fight against the Climate Crisis."
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, "The Climate Resilient Farming Program provides farmers with the resources they need to better address the impacts of climate change on farmers, and on their farming practices. The funded projects address critically important areas such as methane reduction, weather resilience, and soil health. I'd like to thank the Governor and my colleagues for their continued support for the program and to the Soil and Water Conservation Districts for the valuable work they do."
New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein said,"The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program continues to provide our farmers and Soil and Water Conservation Districts with the resources they need to implement best management practices on the farm that are not only helping to protect our natural resources and reduce their environmental footprint but that are also providing them with a safeguard against extreme weather events that can devastate crops. With this increased funding, the program is reaching even more farms across the state. I'm proud of our agricultural industry and their contributions to the fight against climate change."
Launched in 2015, the Climate Resilient Farming Program supports the State's agricultural sector in meeting its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration on working lands under the State's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. So far, through the program, with expert technical support provided by County SWCDs, nearly 400 farms have been able to implement changes that are contributing to a reduced environmental footprint and increased resiliency to the effects of a changing climate.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation. Through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York has a goal of transitioning to clean energy and a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and of reaching economy wide carbon neutrality.
It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the State's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.