Magee: Farms eligible for $50 million to support water quality projects

Bill Magee

Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Nelson) announced that livestock farms can now apply for state grants to help fund water quality projects that help comply with new environmental regulations. A total of $50 million is available through the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which was included in this year’s state budget. As chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Magee is a fierce advocate for New York’s farmers and is dedicated to conserving our region’s soils and water resources.

“The agriculture industry is important to our region’s economy,” Magee said. “This funding ensures that farmers across New York can comply with new regulations designed to ensure our water remains clean. These water quality projects will keep our water safe for future generations.”

There are more than 500 farms in New York State with more than 200 livestock, most of which are dairy farms with more than 300 cows.1 This funding will help livestock farms better store nutrients, such as manure, until there is ideal weather for application. Previously, farmers with insufficient storage would have to apply manure during rain or snowmelt, which meant that nutrients could run off and contaminate water supplies rather than be absorbed into fields and help crops grow.

This funding is especially important this year. Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have been confirmed at Craine Lake in Earlville and suspected in the DeRuyter Reservoir.2 HABs are caused by several nutrient sources and environmental factors and have the potential to cause illness in people and pets, as well as impact fisheries and recreational opportunities on local waterbodies.3

“I encourage livestock farmers to apply for this helpful funding,” Magee said. “This is one of many programs out there that could be an important boost to them. I’ll keep fighting to cut red tape, invest in innovative agriculture programs and spur economic growth.”

The first of three application periods is currently open and will close Nov. 20. Awards for the first $20 million will be made by mid-December. An additional $15 million will be made available in both 2018 and 2019. County soil and water conservation districts can apply for the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program on behalf of eligible farmers. The maximum award amount per proposal is $385,000, which includes funding for engineering and construction expenses. The application link can be found at agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html.

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