Climate Smart Agriculture Programs in the News in 2020

Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2021 by

Sustained coverage throughout 2020 of California’s suite of Climate Smart Agriculture programs demonstrates that interest and demand for these programs continues to grow, even as future program funding is in jeopardy due to a constrained budget and other financial impacts from the pandemic. These programs support our state’s farmers and ranchers in adopting a variety of new practices and technologies and act as a model for other states as we meet the climate crisis together. You can learn more about them here and read stories of farmer and rancher grantees here.


The benefits these programs have brought for the many farmer and rancher grantees were featured steadily in the media throughout 2020. Below are excerpts from some of the media coverage on these programs that featured CalCAN, advisors and partners. Visit our “In the News” page for a full list of stories about CalCAN’s work.


*Alexandre Family Farm (Del Norte County)
Alexandre Family Farm (Del Norte County)

California Conservation Programs Serves as Example of What Works, Or Not from Capital Press, December 4, 2020.

“Alexandre Family Farm in Crescent City, Calif., has participated in the healthy soils and alternative manure management programs through the California Department of Food and Agriculture, or CDFA. ‘We’ve done both programs multiple years,’ said Blake Alexandre, 58, who runs an organic dairy with his wife, Stephanie, and five kids. The Alexandres used grants to build a barn, improve composting methods and plant pastures with rye grass, clovers, brassicas, chicory and plantain. Alexandre said his animals and soil are healthier and he’s seen a ‘huge productivity increase.’ The healthy soils program, CDFA’s most popular grant, has funded 653 projects with $42.87 million since 2017 and saved 39,673 metric tons of carbon dioxide…But funding is evaporating. Brillinger of CalCAN said cap-and-trade auctions are becoming ‘increasingly volatile.'”

Continue reading.

Climate-Smart Agriculture Funding at Risk from California Ag Today, October 9, 2020.

“Through a pandemic and now wildfires, California has had to reallocate resources to respond. Some of the victims include critical programs to help make agriculture more sustainable and resilient to a changing climate. One of those programs is State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, or SWEEP, which started the year with $20 million in the general fund of the Governor’s proposed budget.”

Listen to the interview with CalCAN’s Renata Brillinger here.

States are Doing What Big Government Won’t to Stop Climate Change, and Want Stimulus Funds to Help from Inside Climate News, September 9, 2020.

“With such a vast and vital industry (which includes parts of every county in the state), California has created a suite of “climate smart agriculture” programs. The first-of-their-kind programs, launched in 2014 and expanded in 2017, are helping farms become more resilient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve land and protect ecosystems and communities. The programs provide grant funds and technical assistance to farms in four key areas: conserving agricultural land against non-farm development; increasing on-farm water efficiency; improving soil health and managing manure to mitigate its climate impacts. The programs, popular with farmers, are receiving at least twice as many applications as there are grants… In a pre-pandemic California, one with a budget surplus and climate policy priorities, the programs would be expanding. Instead, climate smart agriculture funding is in jeopardy.”

Continue reading.

There was also media coverage of our recently released reports on two of the Climate Smart Agriculture programs, Resilient California and the California Healthy Soils Program: A Progress Report, two of which are excerpted below.

Report: Covid-19 could slow climate-investment progress from Daily Republic, December 18, 2020.

“The Covid-19 pandemic “threatens to undermine the state’s smart growth efforts, and more is needed to bring a regional approach to these investments that provide the housing, public transit, jobs and food security Californians need,” Jeanne Merrill, policy director with CalCAN and one of the report’s authors, said in the statement released along with CalCAN’s report. “Since 2014, the state of California has invested approximately $1.8 billion in two smart growth/climate investment programs: the Affordable Housing and Sustainable  Communities Program and the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program,” the statement said.”

Continue reading.

He said it from Agri-Pulse Daybreak, December 2, 2020

“’I have no doubt we will leave behind richer soils, greener pastures and bluer skies for the next generation.’ — Brian Shobe, associate policy director for the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), in presenting a progress report on CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program. Shobe urged the Legislature and administration to find “reliable and consistent” funding mechanisms to maintain the program.”

Continue reading.

If you want to support the continued funding of these programs in 2021, be sure to join us now!

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