Funds available to improve safety on NY farms

Funds are available for repairs or upgrades that improve safety on NY farms

The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) is offering financial assistance to farm operations for repairs and upgrades that help make for a safer workplace. Funds of up to $5,000 are available on a first-come, first-served basis to applications approved through the John May Farm Safety Fund.

The cost-matching program is designed to address the unique needs of small and medium-sized farm operations. Unlike many agricultural grants, the application process for this program is straightforward. The fund reimburses approved applicants for 50% of the farm’s total project cost, up to $5,000.

“As farms are experiencing slim profit margins in recent years, it can be difficult for farm owners to do much more than keep the farm operating day to day,” says NYCAMH director Julie Sorensen. Spending money on fixing fencing, broken or outdated machinery, neglected electrical issues and other issues can push small and mid-sized farms to the edge of failure. “Not fixing them, however, can also lead to serious injuries,” adds Sorensen.

Established in 2015, the program was named after Dr. John May, co-founder of NYCAMH, a non-profit health and safety center for New York farmers. NYCAMH’s mission is to enhance agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness.



More than $280,000 has been approved for 72 farm projects in the past four years. The application process requires a free and confidential walkthrough of the farm with a NYCAMH safety specialist to assess safety needs and make recommendations. Site visits can help to identify multiple improvements for which a farm can apply. To date, only six applications have been denied.

The average project reimbursement has been $3,800. An array of projects have been funded, including a number of animal-handling systems for livestock farms, a grain bin repair, an eyewash station, and an electrical upgrade for an aquaculture farm.

For additional information, to download an application or to see videos of funded projects, go to, call 800-343-7527 or email at


Who can apply?

Applicants to the John May Farm Safety Fund must meet the following criteria:

  • Active farmer, part-time or full-time
  • New York State resident
  • Annual farm gross income of $10,000 to $350,000 for non-dairy operations or fewer than 700 milking cows for a dairy operation

What can the funds be used for?



Funds can be used towards a repair or upgrade that addresses a work-related safety issue.

What can’t the funds be used for?

  • Starting up a farm business.
  • Installing a rollbar on a tractor (go to to learn how you can get up to a 70% rebate on a ROPs retrofit).
  • Purchasing a PTO shield (NYCAMH’s PPE program offers a universal shield at cost)
  • Anything related to ATVs.
  • Paying for the farmer’s time if the project is self-installed.

Where do I begin?

What is expected of fund recipients?

Fund recipients must:

  • submit an application
  • agree to a farm safety walkthrough with a NYCAMH’s safety specialist in order to identify safety hazards on the farm. Safety walkthroughs are confidential and help farm owners identify what projects might be best suited to the fund application process.
  • pay for the project upfront and receive a reimbursement of 50% of the project’s cost, up to $5,000, when completed.
  • complete the project within one year of approval.

What is the deadline?

There is no deadline. Applications are reviewed upon receipt.

How much do I have to pay and when?

The applicant pays for the project upfront and gets reimbursed the approved 50% of the project, up to $5,000, upon documented completion.

–New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health