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East Aurora, NY 14052
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Erie County
Soil and Water
Conservation District

Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM)

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The AEM 5 Tier Program For Erie County Residents

Tier 1 - Basic inventory survey must be filled out to give background information and current farm operations. (Tier 1 Survey)

Tier 2 - Fill out farming operations worksheet and receive a site visit from Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District representative to asses potential concerns, while documenting environmental practices already applied.

Tier 3 - Environmental and Management concerns found in tier 1 and tier 2 are addressed by ECSWCD representative and then conservation plans are designed to mitigate these issues with the farms objectives in mind.

Tier 4 - ECSWCD provides the farm with education, technical information, and financial resources for implementation of  the Best Management Practices (BMPs) discussed in tier 3.

Tier 5 - Routine evaluations of the site occur to ensure new practices are maintained and helping the environment and farm to allow for adjustments as needed.


Why AEM?

The AEM Program helps farmers address sources of water pollution originating from agricultural activities by:

  • Assessing environmental concerns associated with their farming operations
  • Documenting current stewardship
  • Developing management plans
  • Implementing environmentally sound practices to address identified concerns
  • Complying with state and federal environmental regulations

Local management of program activities allows AEM to respond effectively to side-specific agricultural practices, local environmental concerns, and individual business objectives.

AEM Benefits the Farmer & the Environment

AEM helps farmers:

  • Manage manure and fertilizer nutrients
  • Manage barnyard run-off and process wastewater
  • Conserve soil
  • Protect drinking water
  • Improve neighbor and community relations
  • Promote the economic and environmental benefits of farmland to the community
  • Comply with environmental regulations
  • Be consistent with permit requirements for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

What Assistance Does AEM Provide?

AEM links farmers with program partners to address specific environmental issues on the farm.

Financial Assistance

Cost sharing for environmental farm plans and BMP implementation can come from:

  • NYS Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program (ANSACP)
  • NYS Farmland Viability Grants
  • NYS Energy Research & Development Authority grants (NYSERDA)
  • USDA Farm Bill Programs such as the Environmental Qualities Incentive Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

Technical Assistance & Education

  • Environmental plan development
  • Best Management Practice design & installation
  • Education programs to help farmers operate viable and environmentally sound farms

AEM Objectives

  • Provide a voluntary, incentive based program to address water quality concerns on farms
  • Coordinate a watershed based approach
  • Document environmental stewardship
  • Adopt Best Management Practices (BMPs) consistent with farm resources.
  • Increase farmers’ awareness of their potential impact on the environment
  • Increase non-farmer awareness of agriculture’s multiple environmental benefits
  • Address neighbor relations

To learn more about AEM, please contact:

  • The Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • A Certified AEM Planner