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Orchard Installs Agrichemical Handling Facility with Help from USDA-NRCS

An Agrichemical Handling Facility provides
a safe environment for the storage, mixing,
and loading of on-farm agrichemicals

Somers, New York, January 4, 2011 – Under the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service  Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) farms can pick from a menu of options to protect water, soil, and air quality. The program provides incentives for farms, including fruit orchards, to install practices to protect the environment.

One farm that recently participated in EQIP is Stuart’s Farm, located in Somers in Westchester County. The farm has over 200 acres of apple orchards, pumpkin fields and vegetable crops.

“The Stuart family installed an agrichemical handling facility to prevent any chemicals accidently escaping into the environment,” said Juan Vilca, District Conservationist for Dutchess, Westchester and Putnam counties.

“Our farm has been in the family since 1828 and our children and grandchildren live on the farm. To ensure the safety of their health and the surrounding community, we want to be as environmentally friendly as possible,” said owner Robert Stuart.

In addition to the agrichemical handling facility, the farm planted cover crops in their vegetable fields so as to prevent soil from eroding during the non-growing season. Because the farm is located within the New York City Watershed, the Watershed Agricultural Council and the USDA-NRCS covered all costs.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers to help plan and implement conservation practices to protect the environment while helping producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations. Examples of projects include barnyard improvements, installing a rotational grazing system, and fencing animals out of watercourses. If you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact please contact your local NRCS office.

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