On January 9th, Governor Brown released his budget draft for fiscal year 2014/15, and we are encouraged by the inclusion of investments in climate-friendly agricultural practices and farmland conservation.
Specifically, the draft budget includes a total allocation of $850 million from the state’s cap-and-trade program, including $100 million of the $500 million the Governor borrowed last year from the program. CalCAN and many other environmental, clean energy and social justice advocates have been calling on the Governor for several months to repay the borrowed funds and make good on his statements of concern about addressing climate change.
While the bulk of the cap-and-trade allocations in next year’s draft budget are for high-speed rail, clean transportation and energy efficiency, some funds will also go towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by investing in farmland preservation and agricultural management strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut energy and water use and sequester carbon in soil.
Under the proposed budget, the spending categories that will benefit farmers are as follows:
- $100 million to implementing regional Sustainable Community Strategies that include agricultural land preservation as a component of integrated land use and transportation planning
- $50 million for water infrastructure and watershed projects, which will support water use efficiency in agriculture and watershed protection
- $20 million for agricultural management strategies that improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
At CalCAN, we have long argued that California farmers and ranchers can make powerful contributions to slowing climate change, including farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, produce clean energy and sequester carbon. We will continue to seek the full repayment of the remaining $400 million the Governor borrowed last year, some of which should be allocated to climate-friendly farming practices. We see this budget proposal as a good first step towards investing in sustainable agricultural climate solutions that benefit farmers, our environment and all Californians.