AG - Non-Point Source Program

NYS Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution Abatement & Control Grant Program

This grant program was established in 1994 by the State of New York to assist farmers in preventing water pollution from agricultural activities by providing technical assistance and financial incentives. County Soil and Water Conservation Districts apply for the competitive grants on behalf of farmers and coordinate funded activities. Grants can cost-share up to 75% of project costs or more if farm owners or operators contribute, in the following two areas: 1. Planning; funds awarded to conduct environmental planning 2. Implementation; funds awarded to construct or apply management practices. The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee and the Department of Agriculture and Markets coordinate the statewide program and allocate funds provided by the NYS Environmental Protection Fund on a semi-annual basis. Since the program began in 1994 more than $50 million has been awarded to 53 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state to help farmers reduce and prevent agricultural sources of Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution.

What is Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution?

The primary cause of New York's remaining water quality challenges can be attributed to NPS pollutants. According to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency: NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carried away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, costal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water. These pollutants include:

  • Excess fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from agricultural lands and residential areas;                     
  • Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production;
  • Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding stream banks;
  • Salt from irrigation practices and acid drainage from abandoned mines;
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, and faulty septic systems, etc.

What are Rounds?

Rounds are the state's term for the nonpoint source program funding cycle. For the most part, rounds have been announced on an annual basis with one round of funding per state fiscal year. Since the program's inception in 1994, there have been a total of 17 rounds of funding available to Districts.