ALBANY — State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced $164,855 in funding has been awarded to Soil and Water Conservation Districts across New York State to address soil quality in their counties. Seven Conservation Districts will receive grants of up to $25,000 through the Ecosystem Based Management Soil Health Grants program to develop initiatives that will encourage greater crop yields and protect water resources from pollution.
Commissioner Ball said, “As a farmer, I understand the critical need to maintain healthy soils, and I commend our Soil and Water Conservation Districts for their partnership with our state’s agricultural producers to implement these projects. By working together, we can continue to increase awareness of the importance of soil for food security and environmental sustainability in New York State.”
Soil quality has become a leading concern for the agriculture industry on a national level. Healthy soils hold the potential to produce greater crop yields while protecting water resources from polluted runoff. In addition, crops growing in healthy soils require less fertilizer and are better able to withstand both floods and droughts.
Through the Soil Health Grants program, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts can develop their own programs to increase the adoption of healthy soil practices. These programs can range from soil health testing to cost assistance for farmers prepared to try new practices. The Soil Health grants are designed to allow the flexibility needed to establish programs that will have long-term residual impacts on the adoption of soil health practices.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts awarded include:
Cayuga County – $25,000
Delaware County – $21,050
Tioga County – $25,000
Wayne County – $25,000
Madison County – $25,000
St. Lawrence County – $20,295
Genesee County – $23,510