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State providing nearly $300,000 to eastern Finger Lakes farmers

Nearly $300,000 in funding will be made available to help farmers around Cayuga, Owasco, Skaneateles and Otisco lakes to plant crops in order to protect water quality, the state announced Wednesday.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation announced $285,000 in will be used to promote the use of cover crops in the eastern Finger Lakes.

Cover crops, which in New York frequently include radishes, wheat, rye, oats, peas, clover and sunflowers, are planted following the harvest of traditional plantings. The cover crops improve soil health for the spring, but also reduce erosion and runoff, absorb excess nutrients, filter surface and ground water, sequester carbon dioxide emissions and more.

Of that $285,000, $180,000 will go toward helping farmers plant the crops while $105,000 will go toward offsetting the costs of specialized equipment to plant the crops.

“Clean water is critical to the health and safety of our communities and New York State’s economic prosperity. Few groups understand the critical importance of conserving our natural resources better than New York’s farmers,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a release.

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