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State Grant To Help County Produce Farm

A county vegetable farm in the Lake Erie watershed will see improvements with the help of the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The district received a state Climate Resilient Farming Grant for several projects, one of which involves the vegetable farm in the Lake Erie Watershed.

“The electrification grant is aimed at improving efficiencies on a produce farm in the Lake Erie Watershed,” said David Spann, district field manager. “Grant funds will cost share the installation of a drilled well as an irrigation source.”

The Soil and Water Conservation District was awarded $38,170 to work with the farm to implement an electrification project, where an electric irrigation pump will replace an inefficient diesel pump. This will reduce the GHG emissions, and eliminate 510 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

The grant funding will also allow the farm to install a drilled well as an irrigation source.

“Currently, the producer relies on a pond for irrigation,” Spann said. “Switching from surface water to a drilled well will result in a more sustainable water source. The new well will be operated by electric pumps, reducing the need for the current tractor driven system, and therefore reducing the carbon footprint of the farm. The inclusion of the well will also allow the producer to utilize high tunnels.”

The drilled well will also help during drought conditions which occur during the growing season. It will allow for better quality water to ensure safe handling practices that are attributed to irrigation over a vegetable crop. The challenge with utilizing high tunnels is by keeping cold air out, rainwater is also kept out. The well also helps make this practice more efficient and extends the profitable season for the farm, which is why Spann said these types of structures are important.

“These structures are important in our region as they allow farmers to extend their growing seasons with the ability to start seeds sooner in the spring and extend crops into late fall,” Spann said.

The funds come through the Climate Resilient Farming Program from the state. This program is a competitive grant program, with funds applied for and awarded through county Soil and Water Conservation Districts on behalf of farmers in one of three project categories: agricultural waste storage cover and flare for methane reduction, on-farm water management, and soil health systems.

“The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program continues to provide real solutions in our battle to fight climate change and to provide protections to our farmers who face real hardship following the increasing number of severe weather events we have seen here in New York over the years,” New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said. “I’m thankful to Governor Hochul and to our Legislature who continue to support the State’s climate agenda and the programs that are increasing our environmental sustainability.”

The program also helps give farmers the resources to help fight climate change throughout the state.

“The Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program through the Department of Agriculture and Markets is providing farmers with the resources they need to bolster the State’s efforts to combat climate change with funding to increase resilience and improve sustainability on New York’s farms,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Farmers play a big role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring a clean environment and healthy food, and advancing a greener future for New Yorkers. The grant program underscores Governor Hochul’s commitment to investing in the agricultural sector and its ongoing efforts to help fight climate change and advance sustainability.”

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