February 22, 2008
New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets
COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCES $13 MILLION TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY
46 Projects Funded To Help Prevent Agricultural Runoff from Farms
Expanded Bottle Bill Would Generate More Funding for Projects as Such
Contact: Jessica A. Chittenden
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced $13 million for 46 projects that will help farmers protect New York’s lakes, streams and rivers from agricultural runoff. This assistance is awarded through the New York State Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program (ANSCAP), which serves as a vital component of the State’s Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program and is funded through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
"Investing in our farms is a smart use of resources, not only for the Upstate economy, but for the environment as well," the Commissioner said. "While farmers utilize a quarter of the State’s total land mass, it is imperative that the State help make compliance with strict federal environmental regulations financially feasible. These grants are instrumental in ensuring that effective conservation practices are implemented on farms in order to safeguard essential soil and water resources for all New Yorkers to enjoy."
ANSCAP is a competitive grant program that is administered by the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. It awards cost-share funding to county Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to address water quality challenges facing farms around the State. Funding for ANSCAP is provided through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). This year’s round of ANSCAP funding includes:
- $1,649,853 for Western New York
- $3,799,881 for the Finger Lakes
- $905,772 for the Southern Tier
- $3,542,482 for Central New York
- $2,454,904 for the North Country
- $477,214 for the Mohawk Valley
- $251,189 for Downstate New York
Dennis Hill, State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chairman, said, "In addition to assisting regulated farms meet required environmental objectives, these grants will help a significant number of farmers implement AEM’s voluntary conservation measures on their farms that will enhance agriculture’s sustainability, while fostering environmental stewardship."
Eligible ANSCAP projects include those that develop comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMPs) or implement best management practices (BMPs) to protect water quality while maintaining the economic viability of New York’s diverse 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.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said, "Farms are an integral part of New York's economy, landscape and culture. These grants will help offset the costs of important stewardship practices that allow farmers to limit the often significant polluted runoff associated with certain agricultural land uses. This program is a significant boost to the state's efforts to help ensure both the viability of farming and the preservation of water quality."
John W. Lincoln, New York Farm Bureau President and a dairy farmer, said, "Our farmers are committed to help protect the state's precious lakes, rivers and streams from manure runoff. Without this critical funding, we would not be the environmental leaders in water quality that our farm families are recognized as today. We are grateful to the Governor and the legislature for continued commitment to water quality protection on farms."
In order to further reduce litter and to enhance funding for the environmental programs, such as ANSCAP, the Governor has proposed the Bigger Better Bottle Bill. This expanded version of the Bottle Bill will require a five cent deposit on non-carbonated, single-serve containers and require all unclaimed deposits to be added to the EPF.
Unclaimed bottle deposits are estimated to be worth $140 million each year and are currently kept by bottlers and beverage distributors. This additional revenue would be added to the EPF’s $250 million a year in state funding, and would enhance funding for environmental and agricultural programs, such as farmland protection. To further ensure environmental stewardship efforts, Governor Spitzer proposed creating a new category within the EPF that would be dedicated to agricultural programs to guarantee these vital programs are adequately funded.
The Commissioner added, "While the Bottle Bill has been effective in keeping our rural roads and vistas clean and beautiful, the expanded bill will allow us to enhance our efforts in protecting viable land and water quality throughout New York State."
The Agricultural Environmental Management program serves as the planning and implementation arm of ANSCAP. AEM addresses agricultural runoff concerns through a voluntary, incentive-based program for developing and implementing farm specific conservation plans that help farmer meet federal, State and local regulations relating to water quality and other environmental concerns. Currently, more than 11,000 farms participate in the AEM program.
To date, New York State has dedicated more than $61 million to ANSCAP. In addition to ANSCAP, AEM participants are also eligible for other State, local and federal assistance to support their environmental stewardship efforts.
The list of the 46 awarded ANSCAP projects, organized by region, can be found at the Department’s website at: