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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 2, 2010

Westerlo farm is one of 37 to get state funds for conservation work

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — The state’s soil and water conservation committee has approved $153,574 in funding for a project that will assist a Westerlo beef farm in improving its practices. The farm will be aided by the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District in this project.

“I can’t say which farm it is until the project’s actually started,” said Joseph Slezak of the county’s soil and water conservation district, “because what we were hoping to do was just announce that the grant was awarded, and, typically, we don’t disclose the farm until the project has started, because he could back out of this at any point.”

The conservation district had previously helped Vito Abate, another Westerlo beef farmer, with his farming practices years back.

During the spring thaw, the melted snow on Abate’s property floods into his barn, where cow manure has frozen and accumulated during the chill that has just ended. That contaminated water eventually flows behind his property, where it mixes with the Silver Creek, a tributary to the Alcove Reservoir. The county has since said that Abate must again improve his farming practices.

But, Slezak told The Enterprise this week, this latest project is not on Abate’s farm.

The current project was one of 37 chosen among 82 submissions statewide, and will be funded by the Agricultural New York State Non Point Source Pollution Abatement and Control Program, according to a release from the conservation district.

“Basically, the district does work like farm inventory, and planning on the farms, to figure out where resource concerns are,” said Slezak. “So, certain practices are highlighted on the farm, and we seek opportunities for the funding.”

Conservation work on the farm could begin this fall, the release says, and is expected to be completed in two or three years.

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