Input Needed on Popular Climate Smart Agriculture Programs
With the recent funding news for record investment in popular Climate Smart Agriculture programs, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is getting ready for the next application cycles. As part of that process, CDFA has released the draft Request for Grant Applications (RGAs) for the Healthy Soils Program and State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) and is inviting comments on the programs from you! Your feedback can help make these programs more farmer-friendly, impactful, and accessible for a wide variety of farmers and ranchers across the state.
The Healthy Soils Program (HSP)
HSP provides funding for farmers and ranchers to adopt new or expand existing healthy soils practices and is set to receive a record $75 million for this upcoming cycle. This is two-and-a-half times more than the last cycle ($28 million). This is great news as far more farmers and ranchers submitted applications in the last round than money was available.
Submit written comments on HSP– for both the incentive and demonstration program – by 5:00pm on Thursday, September 23, 2021. The Draft RGAs are available online (Incentives and Demonstrations). Changes from previous rounds are highlighted in yellow. Submit comments to CDFA.HSP_tech@cdfa.ca.gov.
There is a CDFA stakeholder workshop coming up on Friday, Sep. 17 at 1:30pm where you can share your questions, feedback and recommendations directly with CDFA staff. Register for the workshop with this link.
You can also provide public comment at the Science Advisory Panel Meeting on 10/14. Public comments are the most effective way to educate the Science Advisory Panel members who oversee HSP and will vote on changes to HSP on 10/14. Note: The Science Advisory Panel will also be accepting public comments and voting on changes to SWEEP and a new Conservation Agriculture Planning Grants Program during this meeting.
The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
SWEEP, which provides funding for farmers and ranchers to update irrigation systems and infrastructure that save water and reduce carbon pollution, has been allocated $50 million for the upcoming cycle. This is also welcome news as the immensely popular program has been consistently oversubscribed by 300%.
Find more information on CDFA’s SWEEP website. For more analysis on opportunities to improve SWEEP, check out the recommendations made by a recent SWEEP advisory group of 40+ farmers, technical assistance providers, irrigation researchers and professionals.
If you are interested in learning more about CalCAN’s comments on these programs, please reach out to Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org