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ANCA awarded $558K USDA grant for climate-smart project

By Eric Reinhardt (


North Country Creamery in Keeseville, N.Y. will participate in an agroforestry project, coordinated by ANCA, that was awarded a $558,000 USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant. ANCA is the Adirondack North Country Association in Tupper Lake. (Photo credit: North Country Creamery via ANCA website)

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. — The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) will use a $558,000 federal grant to support climate-smart agroforestry projects on small farms in northern New York.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded the funding.

ANCA is a regional economic nonprofit based in Saranac Lake.

It’s a Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant to help farmers diversify their operations while implementing farming practices that improve land, water and air quality across the region.

The pilot project will provide customized technical assistance to participating farms and monitor economic and environmental benefits of using agroforestry practices like silvopasture — a technique that integrates livestock, forage crops, and trees on the same land.

It’s expected that the planning and implementation phases of the project will take two years, beginning in the summer and fall of this year.

“Agroforestry practices like silvopasture help to retain soil moisture, mitigate soil loss, and sequester carbon, while also providing shade and fodder for livestock,” Adam Dewbury, ANCA’s local food systems program director, said in a news release. “This grant will allow ANCA to provide no-cost technical support for agroforestry planning and implementation on farms, as well as financing for implementation.”

Dewbury said the project will also help develop a regional climate-smart brand for farms that use agroforestry practices to produce commodities such as dairy, meat, wool, berries, and nuts.

Interlace Commons, a Vermont–based nonprofit that works on farm-based agroforestry initiatives across the Northeast, will provide planning and implementation support for the program. The project will take place on up to eight farms, including North Country Creamery in Keeseville, N.Y., a hamlet in both Clinton and Essex counties.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with ANCA and other farms to add trees to our dairy cow pasture, which will provide shade during the summer, protection from wind, more diverse fodder, and a myriad of soil health benefits,” Ashelle Kleinhammer, co-owner of North Country Creamery, said. “These efforts will further our farm’s resiliency in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns by increasing water retention in the soil, activating the mycorrhizal fungi population, and pulling up soil nutrients with longer tap roots.”




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