Farm & Ranch Funding: Water Efficiency, Soil Health & Manure Management

Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 by Amy Winzer


  • Interested in increasing water productivity while saving money on water and energy bills?
  • Considering cover crops, composting or planting a hedgerow?
  • Would you like to convert from flush to scrape at your dairy/livestock operation?

Applications are now open for three grant opportunities through the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA). Funding is available to farms and ranches for a variety of practices that can cut on-farm water and energy use, build soil fertility and reduce dairy methane and other greenhouse gas emissions, while providing economic benefit to the operations and enhancing community and environmental health.

Below are some examples of eligible projects for each program. To delve into the specifics of each program and how to apply, please see the CDFA website links to each program below.

State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program (SWEEP)

Share the SWEEP application flyer!

  • Applications due March 8, 2019
  • Incentives grants for up to $100,000 available
  • $9.5 million total available

Improve irrigation efficiency and reduce water and energy costs through projects like:

  • Installation of solar panels for irrigation systems
  • Micro-irrigation and drip systems
  • Soil moisture monitoring, weather station, and telemetry equipment for irrigation scheduling
  • Pump retrofits
  • Low-pressure systems
  • Variable frequency drives

Healthy Soils Initiative: Incentives Program &  Demonstration Program

Share the Healthy Soils Program application flyer!

  • Applications due March 8, 2019
  • Incentives grants for up to $75,000
  • Demonstration grants for up to $250,000 (must implement new practice(s) and do farmer-to-farmer outreach and field days)
  • $15 million total available

Adopt/expand the use of 25+ eligible soil health practices. A few examples:

  • Cover crop
  • Compost
  • Hedgerows, wind breaks, riparian plantings
  • Prescribed grazing on pasture
  • No-till or reduced till
  • Mulching
  • Silvopasture
  • Crop rotations

Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP)

Share the AMMP application flyer!

  • Applications due April 3, 2019
  • Up to $750,000 for individual dairy/livestock operations
  • Demonstration grants available (must do farmer-to-farmer outreach and field days)
  • $19 – 33 million total available

Manage dairy/livestock manure in ways that can reduce water use and methane emissions, through projects like:

  • Conversion from flush to scrape and/or solid separation of manure solids with alternative manure handling (e.g. daily spread, solar drying, composting, etc.)
  • Compost bedded pack barns
  • Pasture based practices, including conversion to pasture and increased time animals spend on pasture.

More Information & How To Apply

Matching grants from programs like USDA’s NRCS EQIP are encouraged for AMMP and the Healthy Soils Program, but not required (EQIP match not permitted for SWEEP).

Some funding will be prioritized for awards to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, consistent with the Farmer Equity Act (AB 1348). CDFA will also give special consideration to projects located within or that show demonstrated benefits to severely disadvantaged communities (you can use this site to find out if you are located in such a community). Read our recent blog for more information about these funding priorities.

Go to CDFA’s websites, linked above, for more detailed information and access to the applications.

Spread the Word!

Please share this blog with any relevant networks. Assist with outreach by distributing the package of flyers, prepared by CalCAN, to producers and agriculture professionals to let them know about the programs and current funding opportunities.

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