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SLWAP reviews 2011, looks ahead to 2012

Mark Burger, SLWAP program director, gave a year in review assessment of the program at the Dec. 8 annual meeting.

Mark Burger, SLWAP program director, gave a year in review assessment of the program at the Dec. 8 annual meeting. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— The station allows chemical containers to be placed on containment pads that prevent chemicals from running off or leaking into the ground and contaminating the watershed. The mixing pads also can be folded up and stored when not needed to help keep farm space open and available for other uses.

“What we’ve learned there at the vineyards we are now moving to use in beef farms,” Burger said.

A major accomplishment for 2011 was the increased use of farm equipment that aids in conservation, Burger said. The SLWAP rents out such equipment – which was purchased for the program by the city of Syracuse – to farmers, with the intent to get the equipment known and used by farmers and then, hopefully, when farmers need to upgrade their equipment in the future they will move to the conservation equipment.

The program currently rents out a corn planter, a drill and an Aer-Way manure spreader.

“This was the best year ever for equipment rental with an increased number of farmers using our machines,” Burger said.

The SLWAP also exceeded its goal in a new tire recycling project funded mainly by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The goal this year was to recycle 5,000 tires, and the project has so far recycled 5,400.

It has been a “very beneficial program,” which they hope to continue, Burger said. The state DEC put up $15,000 for the program and the SLWAP paid $5,000 in matching funds.

Unfortunately, as 2011 turns into 2012, “grant funding is getting tight,” Burger said. The DEC tire recycling grant is the last part of the total DEC money doled out to the SLWAP in 2011.

“Times are getting tight, grant money is drying up and there’s lots of competition for the money that’s left,” Burger said.

The SLWAP is now looking for new and different avenues of funding to sustain it into the coming year, he said.

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