In another record-setting state budget year, Governor Newsom and legislative leaders finalized a set of budget bills in June that built upon last year’s multi-year funding proposals for Climate Smart Agriculture and more.
CalCAN worked with our allies in the Food & Agriculture Resilience Coalition (formerly the AB 125 coalition), with continued leadership from Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), to advance investments in climate-resilient farms, farmworker safety & wellbeing, healthy food access, and regional food economies.
Existing programs generally saw significant boosts in state funding in the budget package, including the Climate Smart Agriculture programs. But most of the new funding areas that we supported – including healthy food infrastructure and more – did not advance this year. Some highlights from the June budget package, signed by Governor Newsom, include the following:
- $85 million for the Healthy Soils Program (up from $75 million).
- $50 million for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), with an additional $60 million proposed in the forthcoming Climate & Energy Package.
- $48 million for dairy methane programs, including prioritization for the Alternative Manure Management Program (up from $32 million).
- $25 million in additional funding for the Sustainable Agricultural Conservation Program (SALCP). This is in addition to the continuous appropriation of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund dollars for the program.
- $15 million for the Pollinator Habitat Program created at CDFA last year.
- $5 million for drought relief for underserved farmers, a program created last year at CDFA.
- $50 million for the Joe Serna, Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant Program.
- $60 million for Farm-to-School programming at CDFA.
One significant new area of funding that did advance was organic transition technical assistance. Championed by CCOF, a CalCAN coalition partner, and supported by the Food & Farm Resilience Coalition and CalCAN, the budget package included $5 million for a new technical assistance pilot program for farmers transitioning to organic agriculture production, prioritizing underserved producers. The budget package also includes an additional $7 million for organic production systems plans for farmers making the transition.
This is a significant victory. The funding builds upon the acknowledgment in the state’s recent draft Scoping Plan that organic agriculture has a role to play in meeting the state’s climate goals. CCOF continues to lead the effort to pass AB 2499, a policy bill that provides details on the new organic technical assistance pilot program.
What remains to be negotiated by the end of this legislative session is a roughly $19 billion Climate & Energy Package. CalCAN and our allies are supporting budget requests that include farmworker housing weatherization, prescribed grazing infrastructure, groundwater management support for small farms, and a new Climate Smart Land Management program.
We will provide updates on this effort as we have them. Meanwhile, if you would like more information or would like to help support these key investments, please drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.