Your January Monthly Harvest from NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets is here!

In this issue:
Statewide News
Taste NY Updates
NYS Grown & Certified Updates
Funding Opportunities
Spotlight: Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program

As we enter the new year, I’d like to take this moment to pause and reflect on the year past and recognize the hard work and commitment you have all shown to protecting and promoting agriculture in New York State, particularly during such a challenging time. Our agricultural community did tremendous work in 2021 and our industry is stronger today because of your efforts and accomplishments. As we look toward our collective goals and opportunities in the new year, I thank you for your partnership and dedication to our mission. Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and happy new year!
Commissioner Ball

Restaurant Resiliency and Nourish New York Program Updates
New York’s food banks are working with hundreds of restaurants across New York State to bring healthy meals to New Yorkers in need through the New York State Restaurant Resiliency Program. So far, the program is slated to deliver 200,000 meals through the end of the holiday season. Restaurants involved in the program are in all regions of New York State and represent the diversity of the state, with many participating restaurants preparing Kosher and Halal meals and representing minority and women owned businesses.

As of the end of December, over 250 restaurants have been approved to participate in the program, including many restaurants that are preparing Kosher and Halal meals. Additionally, restaurants have been approved in the regions of each of New York’s 10 food banks, illustrating the statewide reach of the program. Check out the list of approved restaurants. https://agriculture.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/12/restaurantresiliencyprogramapprovedrestaurants_2.pdf

The Restaurant Resiliency Program builds on the great success of the Nourish New York program, which, through three completed rounds has helped New York’s food banks purchase over 35 million pounds of New York food products, or 29.8 million meals, to provide to New Yorkers in need. In the current fourth round, as of the end of December, New York’s food banks have purchased more than 13.4 million pounds of food, creating an additional 11.1 million meals for households in need.

Grow-NY Food Hub Reaches Milestone
In December, Commissioner Ball joined Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, Empire State Development, GrowNYC, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and many other great partners for the “topping off” ceremony of the Food Hub in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx, where the final beam of the 60,000 square foot, $40 million cold-storage facility was put in place. The New York State Regional Food Hub is a joint State and City project that, when complete, will strengthen the local food economy, support New York farmers, and improve access to healthy and affordable foods for low-income communities. Empire State Development supported the Hub with an investment of $15 million through the New York City Regional Economic Development Council in Round VI. Learn more. https://agriculture.ny.gov/news/new-york-state-announces-major-milestone-construction-new-york-regional-food-hub-topping

Applications Being Accepted for the Department’s 2022 Hemp Program
Hemp growers can now apply to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ new Hemp Program. The Department’s updated Hemp Program plan, which was recently approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), allows the Department to continue to administer a hemp grower licensing program. All currently licensed growers participating in New York State’s program need to reapply under this new program to grow hemp this year. Find the applications and additional information. https://agriculture.ny.gov/plant-industry/hemp-grower-licensing

The new plan can be found on USDA’s website (https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NYHempProgramPlan.pdf), and includes new guidelines for growers, including sampling and testing requirements. In addition, all growers will need to complete the FBI Identity History Summary Check. The FBI Identity History Summary Check must be submitted with the application for a grower license and must have been performed no more than 60 days prior to submitting the grower license application.

Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, all states interested in administering a state hemp program were required to submit a hemp program plan to the USDA.

Apply Now for the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program
Applications are still being accepted for the $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program. Grants are available for eligible small businesses that have revenues of up to $2.5 million and are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. Empire State Development and Lendistry, the minority-led Community Development Financial Institution that was selected to administer the program, are accepting and reviewing applications on a rolling basis. There is no deadline at this time.

Grants for a minimum award of $5,000 and a maximum award of $50,000 are calculated based on a New York State business’ annual gross receipts for 2019. Reimbursable COVID-19 related expenses must have been incurred between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021 and can include payroll costs; commercial rent or mortgage payments for New York State-based property; payment of local property or school taxes; insurance and utility costs; costs of personal protection equipment necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety; costs for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, or other machinery and equipment; and supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Additionally, the limitation for businesses that received Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans has been increased from $100,000 to $250,000.

To learn more about this program, or to apply for this grant, visit https://nysmallbusinessrecovery.com/, or view a recorded webinar. https://meetny.webex.com/recordingservice/sites/meetny/recording/0b4355373e5d103abe9f0050568c4ceb/playback

Questions about the program can be directed to Lendistry at (877) 721-0097.

Practice Proper Health and Sanitary Measures to Prevent Disease in Rabbits
The Department has confirmed a case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) in a domestic rabbit in Montgomery County. RHDV2 is a highly contagious and fatal disease of domestic and wild rabbits that was first found in the United States in 2018. RHDV2 does not affect humans or other animals.

While this case is an isolated incident and limited to one household, rabbit owners are being encouraged to ensure proper health and sanitary measures to prevent the disease by taking simple steps to reduce the chance of RHDV2 affecting rabbits. Best practices and additional information can be found here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/fs-rhdv2.pdf.

Owners can also speak with their veterinarians about the potential use of a new vaccine for RHDV2, which was recently granted emergency use authorization by the USDA. Interested rabbit owners should contact their veterinarian for information on how to get their animals vaccinated.

RHDV2 is a reportable disease in New York. Sick or dead domestic rabbits should be reported to the State Veterinarian’s office at 518-457-3502 or to the USDA at (866) 536-7593. Multiple wild rabbits found dead or wild rabbits with blood-stained noses should be reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Wildlife Health Unit at (518) 478-2203. Wild rabbits found dead on the road do not need to be reported.

New York’s Excelsior Pass Plus Now Available
Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus are free, voluntary platforms that provide secure, digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results. Learn more and download yours today to help New York State fight the spread of COVID-19. https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/excelsior-pass-and-excelsior-pass-plus

Celebrate the New Year With Taste NY

Happy New Year from Taste NY! This month, visit our Taste NY Markets across New York State to discover new products and producers to start the new year with fresh, local products. Taste NY Markets are also featuring items to warm up winter outings like coffee and tea, New York State-made fiber and wool products like gloves, scarves, and hats, and apres-ski treats like pastas, cheeses, and other snacks. For a full listing of locations, visit https://taste.ny.gov/.

NYS Grown & Certified Featured at the New York Produce Show
In December, the New York Produce Show & Conference was a great opportunity to spotlight NYS Grown & Certified program producers from across the state. The 2021 Produce Show offered roughly 5,000 attendees and 400 exhibitors a full day of non-stop business opportunities. The show’s expo day kicked off with a Taste NY sponsored “Thought Leaders Breakfast,” which featured New York-farmed products, including a hash made from root vegetables grown on the new Javits Center rooftop farm, The Farm at the Javits. During the breakfast, Commissioner Ball spoke about Taste NY, the NYS Grown & Certified program, and New York State’s great produce industry. He also honored Myra Gordon, a tireless advocate for New York State’s produce industry through her work at Hunts Point Produce Market, and Carly Santangelo, who was named as New York State Teacher of the Year in 2021.

The NYS Grown & Certified pavilion featured associations and producer representatives like the New York Cider Association, the New York State Vegetable Growers Association, the New York State Maple Producers Association, and the Long Island Farm Bureau. Department staff were on hand to answer questions and promote NYS Grown & Certified, Nourish New York, and the Farm-to-School 30% reimbursement program.

Current Funding Opportunities
Check out our current funding opportunities:

RFP 0255 – 2021-2022 Companion Animal Capital Projects Fund
Proposals are due on January 25, 2022.

RFP 0258 – 2021-2022 Companion Animal Capital Projects Fund 4(c)
Proposals are due on January 25, 2022.

RFP 0265 – New York State Farm-to-School Program 2022
Proposals are due on Thursday, December 30, 2021 at 4:00 pm.

RFA 0238 – Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Round 18 – Conservation Easement Projects
Applications are taken on a rolling basis.

RFA 0215 – County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Planning Grants
Enrollment is open as of November 2019.

RFA 0216 – Municipal Agricultural and Farmland Protection Planning Grants
Enrollment is open as of November 2019.

RFA 0181 – Source Water Buffer Program
Applications are taken on a rolling basis.

For more information on these or other funding opportunities, please visit our Funding Opportunities page. https://agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities

Spotlight: How the Climate Resilient Farming Program is Addressing Climate Change in New York Agriculture
Climate change has impacted the agricultural sector in a variety of ways, from increasing the risks of soil erosion and quality to potentially affecting food security. As part of New York’s efforts to combat a changing climate, the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) sets targets for the agricultural sector to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequester carbon. The Department, working in partnership with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, offers grant programs to help farmers to adopt transformative management practices to meet these goals and increase a farm’s adaptation and resiliency to drought and flooding events that are becoming more common.

Among these is the Climate Resilient Farming Program. Launched in 2015, the Climate Resilient Farming (CRF) Program (https://agriculture.ny.gov/soil-and-water/climate-resilient-farming) helps to reduce the impact of agriculture on climate change and to increase the resiliency of New York State farms effected by climate change. CRF has awarded $12 million so far, helping 200 farms across the state. Program funds are used to implement agricultural best management practices (BMP) systems on farms, such as agricultural waste storage cover and flare systems, water management and soil health management practice systems.

Agricultural waste storage cover and flare systems: Cover and flare systems involve installing an impermeable cover over a manure storage facility, piping the emitted methane and other gases away from the facility, and burning the gas in a flare. A cover also eliminates millions of gallons of clean rainwater from entering the storage, keeping clean water clean, and reducing emissions associated with spreading millions of gallons of rainwater on crop fields.
Water management: The water management systems include many conservation systems and BMPs, such as riparian forest buffers, stream corridor and shoreline management, erosion control, ponds, and wetlands, that stabilize or reinforce conveyances, reduce flows, and/or store water. Some conservation systems, such as transferring land to perennial production or forest buffers can also create beneficial carbon sinks.
Soil health management: Soil health practices can also create carbon sinks, increase water holding capacity and improve recycling of nitrogen by crops, thereby mitigating GHG emissions. Soil health practices increase soil organic matter, allow for increased water storage, and reduce erosion through reduced tilling and increased vegetative cover.

The next round of the CRF program will be released in 2022 with up to $8 million available to assist farms, reducing GHG emissions and increasing resiliency. Farms interested in the CRF program should work with their local Soil and Water Conservation District to start planning.