Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) is encouraging local dairy farmers, particularly in the Capital Region and Montgomery County, to apply for funding designated to create economic growth opportunities for New York farmers. The funds, totaling nearly $21 million, were announced by Governor Cuomo on Tuesday.
Last year it was announced New York eclipsed California as the top yogurt producer in the whole country, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said. To keep the direction of our dairy industry moving forward, it is crucial that our farmers who want to grow and thrive know what resources are available to them.
Governor Cuomos announcement includes two separate initiatives with a shared objective to help dairy farmers improve their bottom line. The first designation of money will help dairy farmers to cut down on energy costs, while the second would help them streamline operations by developing comprehensive business and environmental plans.
Specifically, the first pot of money, $20 million, will aid farmers looking to reduce energy costs by helping them install anaerobic digester technology. Anaerobic digesters turn dairy manure into both fertilizer for crops and biogas, which can be burned in engines to produce heat and electricity.
This funding opportunity has been set aside through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and will be available starting Friday, January 17. It will be issued to eligible projects on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, please visit http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/.
The second designation of funding will help farmers, primarily those with herds of less than 300 cows, by increasing funding for the Dairy Acceleration Program (DAP) by $850,000. The DAP is jointly funded by the NYS Department of Ag and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation, and helps with business and growth plans for farms. Specifically, the DAP allows for payments to farmers for the purpose of writing business plans or for the writing or updating of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) which will help them grow their herd and protect the environment.
In order to be eligible, dairy cattle farms must have complete financial records. For more information, or to apply for DAP, visit http://ansci.cornell.edu/prodairy/dairy_acceleration/.