NYS Agricultural Non-Point Source
Abatement & Control Grant Program
This grant program was established in 1994 by the State of New York to assist farmers in preventing water pollution from agricultural activities by providing technical assistance and financial incentives. County Soil & Water Conservation Districts apply for the competitive grants on behalf of farmers and coordinate funded conservation projects. Grants can cost-share up to 75% of project costs or more if farmers contribute in the following two areas:
Planning- funds awarded to conduct environmental planning
Implementation- funds awarded to construct or apply management practices
The New York State Soil & Water Conservation Committee and the Department of Agriculture & Markets coordinate the statewide program and allocate funds provided by the NYS Environmental Protection Fund on a semi-annual basis. Since the program began in 1994 more than $153 million has been awarded to Soil & Water Conservation Districts across the state to help farmers reduce and prevent agricultural sources pollution.
What is Non-Point Source Pollution?
The primary cause of New York’s remaining water quality challenges can be attributed to a wide array of pollutants resulting from various types of land uses, which is termed non-point source (NPS) pollution. As rainfall or snow-melt moves over and through the ground, the runoff picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water. These pollutants include:
Excess fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from residential areas and agricultural lands
Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production
Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop lands, and eroding streambanks
Salt from roadways, irrigation practices, and acid drainage from abandoned mines
Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes and faulty septic systems
Atmospheric deposition and hydro-modification
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Climate Resilient Farming
The goal of the Climate Resilient Farming Program is to reduce the impact of agriculture on climate change (mitigation) and to increase the resiliency of New York State farms in the face of a changing climate (adaptation).
Soil and Water Conservation Districts use the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Framework to plan and assess their environmental risks. Historically, farmers working through the AEM framework have only been able to receive funding through the Agricultural Non-Point Source program, for water quality concerns. Climate Resilient Farming fills those gaps by allowing farmers to proactively address risks due to the changing climate while also mitigating their greenhouse gas emissions.
Estimates of annual greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (apart from agricultural energy use, which is classified differently) in New York State range from 5.3 to 5.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Manure management is responsible for roughly 15% of the emissions; emissions from soils are slightly under a third of the total. This represents a major opportunity to reduce emissions.
While New York State is projected to increase precipitation overall, it is expected to come in short, extreme precipitation events in between mild droughts. This represents a major risk to farms, particularly those in low-lying or flood prone areas. Even very local downpours and cloud bursts can cause substantial damage to farms.
This program capitalizes on the opportunities to mitigate agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions while strengthening the resiliency of New York State’s farms.
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