Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R,C,I-Chautauqua) is applauding the recent announcement by the Department of Agriculture and Markets to use $12.2 million in funds from the state Environmental Protection Fund to protect local lakes, rivers and streams from potential agricultural runoff.
Chautauqua County will be receiving $875,720, the third-highest amount of any county in the state.
"Farming is an integral part of life here in Chautauqua, and has helped define our communities for generations," Goodell said. "Our local farms and vineyards have helped drive the wheels of our economy, supporting local families and businesses. These men and women know the importance of good land stewardship and they remain wholeheartedly committed to our environment. I want to thank the governor for his support of our agriculture programs here in Chautauqua County."
Competitive grants will be used by the county Soil and Water Conservation Districts to address the water quality challenges facing farms in priority watersheds throughout the state. The Conservation Districts use the state's Agricultural Environmental Management framework to implement the grants. Conservation Districts will develop plans tailored to a farm's goals and watershed needs and will establish practices and technologies to achieve those goals.
Eligible projects include those developing comprehensive nutrient management plans or implementing best management practice systems 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.
The new funds have received praise from many in the agriculture community, including State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine and the New York Farm Bureau.
"Agriculture is a business and Gov. Cuomo wants to make sure that the business of agriculture here in New York remains strong," Aubertine said. "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."
"New York farmers have long been strong caretakers of the environment, and through the additional funding support for the non-point source pollution and abatement program, our members can continue to grow their farms responsibly," President of New York Farm Bureau Dean Norton said. "New York Farm Bureau thanks Gov. Cuomo for this recognition and commitment to New York agriculture."
"Our local wineries and farms are producing goods that have garnered praise from across the state and across the country," Goodell said. "The men and women of our agriculture community work hard every day to preserve our environment while also growing our economy, and I know this funding will help better ensure both goals."