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PATAKI TARGETS $4.5 MILLION FOR FARMERS

In his first visit to Wyoming County since 1995, Gov. George E. Pataki announced Monday that the state will give more than $4.5 million to farmers to help them protect the environment.

Pataki visited 950-acre Halo Farms on Route 39 and later attended a reception with government leaders and the public in front of the Wyoming County Government Center in Warsaw.

"By investing in these projects, we are helping our farmers meet environmental standards while working to ensure a healthy water supply for all New Yorkers," Pataki said.

Pataki said the economic success of Wyoming County farmers is just as important as the success of downstate entrepreneurs.

"We're all one state," Pataki said. "If Wyoming County does well, so does the rest of the state. If New York City does well, so does the rest of the state."

Among the Western New York soil and water conservation districts to receive funding are Wyoming County, $111,695; Orleans County, $108,000; Genesee County, $59,947; and Cattaraugus County, $10,485. Program funding is provided by the state Agriculture Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program.

State officials said projects at farms eligible for funding include water quality assessments, runoff buffer building, and efforts that provide technical assistance for farming.

Walter Faryna, who owns Halo Farms, expressed gratitude Monday to Pataki and other government leaders for the additional funding. His farm, which has 400 cows, has participated in state efforts to develop barnyard- and nutrient-management plans, along with manure storage systems.

"It is a big honor to have him come to the farm to make his presentation," Faryna said. "It is nice for him to come to Wyoming County."

Pataki toured Halo Farms briefly, along with Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence; state Agricultural Commissioner Nathan L. Rudgers; John Lincoln, president of the state Farm Bureau; and Wyoming County officials.

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