2016 Annual Report

District Manger, Lindsey Gerstenslager wrote in the Conservation corner “The final month of the year is always a good time for reflection about a year full of conservation and boots-on-the-ground efforts. This year’s memories continue to highlight so much hard work throughout all of the communities of Wayne County. With over 45,000 contacts across all of the District programs for technical assistance, it leaves a great deal of conversations about conservation and how to make our communities sustainable and stronger.  Partnership and principle knowledge are the foundation of all efforts for the District throughout 2016. This year was a challenging year for water quality, erosion control, and soil health management due to weather conditions. From devastating floods in 2015 to drought conditions occurring over 50% of the County, left many in the community with numerous concerns. Because of the unwavering determination of this community, the members pushed forward on several projects with the District ready for action, but short on staff for 2017. Due to the success of in-state and grant funding efforts, the District was able to leverage local funding to begin to expand efforts to newly observed areas of concern including protecting Lake Ontario coastal infrastructure, Land Owner Assistance programs, and expansion of the Agriculture Environmental Management program of NYS.Partnership and principle knowledge are the foundation of all efforts for the District throughout 2016.

New York Agriculture in the Classroom Grants Available

Photo Credit NY Ag in the Classroom

The New York Agriculture in the Classroom Grants are now open for indoor grow systems for schools in NY interested in a classroom project. Schools can apply for three types of grow systems that would best meet their educational goals, classroom space needs, along with experience level in school gardening and curriculum integration.

New York Agriculture in the Classroom aspires to provide teachers the tools to facilitate experiential-learning opportunities using agriculture as the context for learning by investing $70,000 in the grant program.

The selected schools that receive grow systems will be asked to submit two progress reports yearly, and respond to messages or inquiries as asked. Regional Agriculture in the Classroom curriculum training will be held during the school year, and at least one teacher from the recipient school must attend the training. The educator trainings will deepen your understanding of the paired curriculum available and companion resources, and allow for teachers to develop a network of support in each region.

Interested teachers can apply for one of three available grow systems: a 2445 soil-based rack grow system, a bundle of three aeroponic tower gardens, or a high tunnel. Schools will be awarded the grow system that best meets their educational goals, classroom space needs, experience level in school gardening, and curriculum integration plans. The systems will serve as “garden classrooms” where food-based learning can be integrated with math, science, language arts, and social studies while helping teachers meet core curriculum requirements. In addition, recipients will receive educational resources, workshop opportunities, and access to a growing network of school food gardeners throughout the state.

Interested teachers can apply for the Grow with Us Grant by Friday, January 3, 2020.

More information about the Grow with Us Grant and the application can be found by visiting the New York Agriculture in the Classroom website at www.agclassroom.org/ny.

New York Agriculture in the Classroom is a partnership of Cornell University, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York State Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and New York Farm Bureau. New York Agriculture in the Classroom fosters an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of our food and fiber system.



Funding is Part of Governor’s $2.5 Billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act

Program Will Help Livestock Farmers in 25 Counties Meet New Environmental Requirements

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $20 million has been awarded to implement water quality protection projects on 56 farms across the state. The funding was provided through the first round of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Waste Storage and Transfer System Program. It supports projects that will allow livestock farms to better manage and store nutrients, such as manure, to protect ground water and nearby waterways. The program is a part of the Governor’s historic $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 which invests an unprecedented level of resources for drinking water, wastewater infrastructure and other water quality protections statewide.

“Agriculture remains a key part of New York’s economy and this funding will help farms in every corner of this state protect drinking water supplies and waterways, while also remaining competitive,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this program, we are supporting New York’s economy and ensuring our essential natural resources are preserved for years to come.”

Through the program, 61 waste storage and transfer systems will be installed on CAFO-permitted farms in 25 counties throughout the state. Grants will help offset the cost of construction, site preparation and associated best management practices. Funded projects will also help farmers meet the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s new environmental requirements first announced in January of this year.

The funding is being provided to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which applied on behalf of eligible farmers, in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York Regions. A list of the award totals is available here.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Governor’s historic clean water initiative is critical to ensuring the quality and sustainability of our natural resources and our farms. We received more applications than we were able to fund through the first round of this program, which shows the strong commitment of our livestock operations to environmental stewardship. We look forward to releasing the second Request for Proposals in the coming year to benefit even more farms as they strive to maintain nutrient recycling year-round.”

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York’s farmers are among our state’s strongest environmental stewards with a keen understanding of the critical role natural resources play in maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Governor Cuomo has established one of the nation’s most aggressive environmental agendas that prioritizes protecting water quality. These grants from the historic $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act will help our State’s hardworking farm families safeguard our water quality while ensuring the economic well-being of New York’s agricultural community.”

New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein said, “This grant program will assist dairy and livestock farmers to better protect critical natural resources and to meet the State’s important environmental regulations. Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts are excited to partner with farmers to implement these projects and promote best management practices across the state.”

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, “The grant money under the Governor’s water infrastructure plan will build on the agricultural community’s strong record of environmental stewardship. The cost sharing assistance provides more flexibility on farms to manage nutrients, which helps protect water quality for all New Yorkers. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the public-private partnership, especially as livestock farmers are putting new environmental management plans in place to meet tougher CAFO regulations.”

Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “One of the biggest responsibilities our farmers have is to be good stewards of the land and other natural resources they use. Through this funding, our state’s hardworking farmers can continue the important work they do to support New York’s leading industry, and at the same time, continue their efforts to be leaders when it comes to implementing environmentally safe practices. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Ball for their continued support of our farmers and entire agricultural industry.”

Senator Tom O’Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “These are wise state investments to keep our farmers competitive and, at the same time, protect our natural resources for the long run and strengthen local economies. We’re investing in the long-standing and successful partnership between local farmers and local conservation districts to achieve vital economic and environmental protection goals.”

Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, “New York State is a leader in the agriculture industry and farming is essential to our region’s economy. This funding ensures that farmers across the state can comply with new regulations that were designed to ensure our waters remain clean. These water projects will keep our water safe for future generations.”

New York State has more than 500 CAFO farms, most of which are dairy farms with 300 or more cows. CAFOs can also include other livestock operations such as beef, poultry and equine farms that meet regulatory thresholds. Grant funding for the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program is available over three consecutive application rounds. The Department of Agriculture and Markets will launch a second and third application period for an additional $15 million in both 2018 and 2019.

In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets along with the Department of Environmental Conservation have developed an informational document to educate communities on the importance of manure storage facilities to maintain New York State’s environmental standards. Manure storage provides farmers with more flexibility to apply manure at optimum times—after a crop is harvested and when weather and field conditions present a low risk of run-off—for efficient uptake and recycling by crops.  Storing manure makes it possible for farmers to better achieve a higher level of nutrient management and maintain environmental protections. The fact sheet can be found here.

The Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 invests a record $2.5 billion in critical water infrastructure across New York State. This historic investment in drinking water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure and source water protection actions will enhance community health and wellness, safeguard the State’s most important water resources, and create jobs. Funding for projects will prioritize regional and watershed level solutions, and incentivize consolidation and sharing of water and wastewater services.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Leaks Can Run, but They Can’t Hide

Are you ready to chase down leaks? Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, so each year we hunt down the drips during Fix a Leak Week. Mark your calendars for EPA’s ninth annual Fix a Leak Week which will take place March 20 through 26, 2017, but remember that you can find and fix leaks inside and outside your home to save valuable water and money all year long.

From family fun runs to leak detection contests to WaterSense demonstrations, Fix a Leak Week events happen from coast to coast and are all geared to teach you how to find and fix household leaks. See our Event MapExit EPA Disclaimer to view past events and to find new events near you! Learn More Here

Financial assistance for farms facing COVID-19 Early options available for farms to support cash flow

Photo Credit Morning Ag Clips

Farm businesses and operations have been deemed essential and will continue to remain in operation producing high-quality, safe food products for consumers all across the world. However, with market disruptions, employees’ family obligations, and low commodity price projections, farm profitability uncertainties are an added source of concern. There have been early announcements of assistance that can ease cash flow issues and help farmers keep employees on payroll while maintaining their highest standards of quality, environmental stewardship, and animal wellbeing. Please keep in mind that this is a rapidly changing situation, and we can hope for additional funding announcements in the near future.

American Farmland Trust, a national organization dedicated to keeping our rural lands in agricultural production, has announced their “Farmer Relief Fund” initiative. This program will offer direct-market producers cash grants of $1,000 each to help ease the effect of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus. This can include the closure of farmers markets, decreased or interrupted sales to restaurants and institutional buyers, or to makers who use farm products as inputs.

The deadline to apply is April 23rd with grants awarded by May 1st. For more information, visit farmland.org/farmer-relief-fund.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) has made changes to their farm loan, disaster, conservation, and safety net programs to make it easier for customers to conduct business. While their county service centers are closed to the public, their staff are available to continue to work with the farming community by phone appointment. FSA has relaxed the loan-making process by extending the deadline for applicants to complete farm loan applications and preparing Direct Loans documents even if record searches cannot be completed because of closed government offices. FSA will continue to offer farm loans, commodity loans, farm storage facility loans, disaster assistance programs, safety net programs, conservation programs, and acreage reports with modifications meant to benefit the farmer and this situation’s unique challenges. For more information, contact your local service center or visit fsa.usda.gov.

The CARES Act’s recent Paycheck Protection Loan Program announcement will also provide emergency funding to farms via Small Business Administration loans. This low interest, forgivable loan program will be available starting April 3rd to cover payroll costs, utilities, mortgage interest, and/or rent. Farm owners should work with their existing lenders, if they are participating in the PPL program, to determine their eligibility and complete the expedited application. For more information on this program, visit sba.gov.

This situation can bring a lot of stress and anxiety for farm owners and managers. It is important to remember that managing and addressing risks early on, rather than avoiding them, will provide decision makers more time to make sound action plans to manage cash flow and long term profitability. The only way to make accurate decisions is to know the farm’s current financial situation which will involve record-keeping and business analysis. For more information on creating financial statements for your farm, contact your lender or Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management Specialist. Additionally, NY FarmNet recently released a helpful guide to “Managing Financial Stress on the Farm in Uncertain Times” and their consultants are available for free and confidential financial and personal counselling. For more information, call 1-800-547-3276 or visit nyfarmnet.org.

Beth Claypool, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s office in Wayne County has put together an extensive list of programs for Farmers related to farm operations during the pandemic. Visit http://ccewayne.org/environment/emergency-preparedness/up-to-date-information-on-the-corona-virus . These resources include recordings of recent agriculture related webinars related to COVID.  You can find other ag recordings on production practices, etc on the Ag Specialist Teams website.

If you would like more information please contact Cornell Cooperative Extension Wayne County at 315-331-8415 or email Beth at eac9@cornell.edu

(portions of content from this article was reprinted from Morning Ag Clips )


Water Chestnut Competition

The District will be offering it’s first water chestnut hand will competition. July 21st and Bay Bridge South (Lake Shore Marshes). Water Chestnut Warrior teams of 4  will compete in 3 different events – a short pull, long pull and a bag fill – to see how quickly and efficiently they can work to remove water chestnuts from the bay! Gift Cards to local restaurants will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams and all participants receive a free t-shirt. Registration is $20.00 for team of 4 ($5.00 per person)- Is your team up for the challenge?


Help us spread the word, download this poster for distribution

Are you shopping for your Christmas tree this weekend? Buy NYS Grown and Certified

Be sure to visit a NYS Grown & Certified tree farm near you for a socially distanced and fun way to celebrate the season while supporting your local farm. Plus, with a #NYSCertified tree, you’ll know you’re buying a product grown with a focus on sustainability. New York State Grown & Certified is the first statewide, multi-faceted food certification program designed to strengthen consumer confidence in New York products, address food product labeling, and assist New York farmers so they can take advantage of the growing market demand for foods locally grown and produced to a higher standard. New York State Grown & Certified is open to New York producers who adhere to the best practices in safe food handling and environmental stewardship. It is currently available to New York State producers or processors of produce, dairy, eggs, beef, poultry, pork, shellfish, Christmas trees, maple, cut flowers, craft beverage ingredients, wine, spirits, beer and cider.

NYS Grown and Certified producers in Wayne County:

Brick Church Farms
Brian Hotto
5502 S. Geneva Rd
SodusNY 14551
315-483-9876 .brickchurchfarms.com Get directions
Franke Farms
4514 Eddy Ridge Rd
MarionNY 14505
315-986-1349 frankefarms.com Get directions

For a full list of growers of New York-grown Christmas tree vendor nearest to you, visit https://certified.ny.gov

On-Farm Housing Grants Available

PathStone Corporation is currently accepting applications for their 2021 On-Farm Housing Grant

This program is a matching grant of up to $2000 to repair and upgrade existing farm labor housing. Examples of eligible repairs include, but are not limited to: bathrooms, plumbing, laundry facilities, recreation rooms, upgrading kitchens and appliances, heating, windows, ceilings, doors, and other major structural components.

Farm Owners must agree to provide $1 for every $1 provided by PathStone Corporation. This grant is available in Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Orleans, Wyoming, Livingston and Genesee counties. If interested, or if you have questions, please contact Susan Lerch at 585-261-1779 for an application.

Applications will be due March 1, 2021 and the work will need to be completed by May 21, 2021. Please help us spread the word as we want to assist as many farms as possible!

The program is limited to farmers and growers who own existing farm labor housing that is in need of repairs and upgrades that will have a direct impact on the safety and health of farmworkers.

Typical Examples
• Bathrooms and plumbing systems
• Kitchens and replacement of appliances
• Heating and insulation
• Interior walls, floors, and ceilings doors, windows, and other major structural components

Click here to download a brochure /2021-Farm-Housing-Grant/

NYS Ag and Markets Announce NYS Grown & Certified scavenger hunt

The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets announced the 1st annual NYS Grown & Certified scavenger hunt! Find the #NYSCertified seal on a product at your local grocery store, farmers’ market, or Taste NY market, email them a photo of the product – and they will send you a NYS Grown & Certified hat so you can let everyone know that you care about shopping for local, sustainable NY foods!

Here are the rules

1. Visit your local grocery store, farmers’ market, or Taste NY market.
2. Look for the NYS Grown & Certified seal on a product (hint, check produce, and dairy items).
3. Take a picture of the product showing the seal.
4. Email the photo and the store name and location to NYSgrownandcertified@agriculture.ny.gov.
5. The first 20 entries will receive a NYS Grown & Certified hat! (They will email you back to ask for a shipping address.)

On your marks, get set…hunt!

New York State Announces two Grant Opportunities to Help New York Farmers Protect Soil and Water Quality

AEM$19 Million Will be Provided through the State’s Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program and the Agricultural Non-Point Source Abatement and Control Program, applications Due March 2 and April 13

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced two grant opportunities totaling $19 million for projects that will help New York’s farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy savings, mitigate water and soil quality concerns, and increase on-farm resiliency to climate change.

Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Abatement and Control Program

A total of $15 million is available to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the State through Round 26 of the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program.

The Agricultural Nonpoint program awards projects that focus on either environmental planning or the implementation of best management practice systems to protect New York’s watersheds. Projects include conservation measures, such as nutrient management through manure storage, vegetative buffers along streams and conservation cover crops.

The District can apply on behalf of farmers for the competitive grant program, which is funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.  Project proposals are due at 4:30 pm on April 13, 2020.

To apply or receive more information, please contact Ron Thorn or call our offices at 315-946-7200

In addition to the Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Abatement and Control Program, the State has funding available under the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program.

Climate Resilient Farming

These funds help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and address the impacts of extreme weather events resulting from climate change. Through four rounds of funding, awarded projects are estimated to deliver the equivalent of 15,513 metric tons of CO2e per year emissions reductions, equivalent to removing 3,294 cars from the road for one year. The 2019-2020 State Budget, through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, provided for an additional $4 million in funding for this fifth round.

Funding will support agricultural projects and equipment purchases that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help agricultural producers prepare for and better manage impacts of climate change, including increased heavy storm events, overall rainfall, and periods of drought.

For the first time, the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program includes funding specifically for the Healthy Soils NY initiative. Applications must be for one of the following project categories: Track 1 – agricultural waste storage cover and flare systems; Track 2 – water management systems; and Track 3- Healthy Soils NY, soil health management practice systems.

Track 1 – $2 million is available for manure storage cover and flare systems to reduce methane emissions from the farm and increase the farm’s resiliency to major precipitation events.
Track 2 – $1 million is available for water management projects to prepare agricultural producers for flood events and drought.
Track 3 – $1 million for the Healthy Soils NY initiative to improve soil health on farms and enhance a farm’s resiliency to the impacts of climate change, including drought and wet weather. Soil health management practice systems can also create carbon sinks, increase water holding capacity, and improve the recycling of nitrogen by crops, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

To apply or receive more information, please contact Ron Thorn or call our offices at 315-946-7200. Project proposals are due at 4:30 pm on March 2, 2020.

The application and additional information are available on the Department’s website at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities.

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