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AGRICULTURE

Cayuga County farms get largest NY state grant to combat climate change

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Country Splendor 3.JPG

Corn grows in early July 2020 on a farm in Aurelius.

The Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District has been awarded over $800,000 — more than any other council soil and water district — to implement practices that combat climate change. 

Cayuga County's $811,920 will support projects on nine farms. According to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the grant will be used to plant 5,200 acres of cover crops and implement residue and reduced tillage/no-till management on 16,785 acres of farmland. 

The project's description says the practices "will decrease soil erosion, reduce runoff, enhance soil health, and increase soil organic matter." By using reduced tillage/no-tillage management, the department said the farms will decrease fuel consumption, which will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The state grant, which is provided through the Climate Resilient Farming Program, will cover most of $1 million project. Cayuga County farms will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,971 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the grants on Thursday. Overall, the state is providing $7.9 million for projects on more than 70 farms that will reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 68,495 metric tons annually. 

"New York's farmers are on the front lines of the fight against climate change and among the first to feel the devastating effects of extreme weather events that have become all too common in recent years," Hochul said. 

The Climate Resilient Farming Program, she continued, "gives farmers the resources they need to prepare for and respond to whatever weather events the future holds and continue their critical work contributing to our local economies, and producing fresh, healthy products for all New Yorkers." 

The program was established in 2015. Nearly $20 million has been awarded through six rounds of funding, according to Hochul's office. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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