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Farms are vital to New York’s economy and they need clean water to be fully operational and productive.

That’s why Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s making $12 million available to protect clean water in order to make farms -- and surrounding water sources -- safer and cleaner.

It’s an effort to control “…non-point source pollution. That’s definitely directed toward water quality improvement,” George Squires, manager of the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation Department said. “And it covers a whole host of different conservation practices that farms may want to implement. The goal is to keep water clean and all our streams, lakes and all the water bodies that we drain.”

Squires says it’s a cost-share program allowing up to 75 percent of the cost of installing conservation practices on farms to be covered by the grant.

The funds can help farms solve a number of different issues, such as corrosion control or agricultural waste management.

“In a sense it’s like putting together a plan for not only what you’re doing right on the farm but also places where you may need help and that’s where the grant program kicks in in encouraging you to take care of those issues where the farm needs some help,” Squires said.

More information can be found at agriculture.ny.gov.

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