Farmland Protection & Support for Underserved Producers: Funding Available

Posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2021 by
New farmer Leonardo Aguila in Fallbrook, CA. Photo via USDA

California grant programs for supporting underserved producers and protecting farmland are now accepting applications.

Pandemic Support for Underserved Producers

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for a new program, the California Underserved and Small Farm Producer Grant Program. Applications will be accepted until Monday May 10, 2021at 5pm PST. Awards are expected to be announced May 19, 2021.

Nearly $2 million is for technical assistance to small and mid-scale and/or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who need support applying for COVID-19 economic relief grant programs, as well as assistance with business planning and marketing strategies. Registered non-profit organizations, Tribal Governments, and Resource Conservation Districts can apply and there a two types of grant projects:

  1. Technical Assistance for Underserved Farmers and Ranchers – Funding for technical assistance providers to support farmers and ranchers in applying for COVID-19 economic relief grant programs and assistance with business planning and marketing strategies and other business economic recovery activities. Approximately $1.35 million is available for this type of grant.
  2. Direct Grant Assistance for Underserved Farmers and Ranchers  – Eligible entities are also able to apply as a “regional administrator” for grant funds to distribute directly to farmers and ranchers to aid in COVID-19 economic recovery and/or leverage existing economic relief funding programs. Approximately $550,000 is available for this type of grant.

Grant applications are available online here,  and can be downloaded, completed and returned via email to: CDFA is hosting a webinar Tuesday May 4, 2021 at 1pm, to discuss the grant program and application process, and to answer questions. Register for the webinar here.

For assistance and questions related to the California Underserved and Small Producer Program process, please contact or


This new program is due in large part to advocacy efforts by CalCAN Coalition member Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), responding to the reality that many pandemic relief programs throughout the year were not reaching small and underserved farmers. You can read more from CAFF here. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) is also hiring several new small farms community educator positions, another result of these advocacy efforts. Find and apply for the jobs here. For more information on COVID resources for farmers, please see here.

Sustainable Agricultural Lands Program

The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC) is accepting pre-proposals for purchasing conservation easements or creating plans to protect agricultural lands. The deadlines are:

  • Conservation easement pre-proposals: June 1, 2021
  • Planning project pre-proposals: July 1, 2021
  • Final deadline for both projects: September 10, 2021.

Cities, counties, Tribes, land trusts and other governmental and non-profit entities are eligible to apply. Projects that benefit California Tribes, beginning farmers and ranchers, veteran farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers are prioritized for funding. Find application materials here. For additional information contact SALCP at (916) 324-0850,,


Administered by the California Department of Conservation (DOC)  on behalf of the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC), this is the seventh round of funding for the SALC program and to date, the program has invested over $230 million to protect more than 115,000 acres of agricultural land throughout the state. SALCP projects protect agricultural land, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthen farm economies, all while helping California meet its climate change goals. These strategies are key to meet Governor Newsom’s Natural and Working Lands Executive Order that calls for the conservation of 30 percent of California’s coastal waters and land by 2030.  The projects funded through the SALC program is also one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Read more about the impacts to date in our recent report.

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