Governor’s Draft California Budget Includes Robust Climate Smart Agriculture Investments, But Missing Key Funding for Farmworkers, Farmland Conservation and Regional, Healthy Food Economies
Governor Gavin Newsom recently released his January budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023, which includes significant funding for the state’s Climate Smart Agriculture programs. The Governor’s budget also includes proposed investments in workforce development for the next generation of workers trained to support climate-resilient communities, including agriculture, and funding for California University System (CSU) research farms to upgrade facilities and purchase needed equipment.
But the Governor’s budget proposal falls short on key investments to support an equitable and climate-resilient food and farm system in California, including no new funding for farmworker housing and inadequate investments in farmland conservation, healthy food infrastructure, and regional food economies.
For a second year, the state is projecting a large budget surplus, anticipated to be nearly $46 billion this year. The Governor’s budget includes many of the previous year’s proposed multi-year investments in agriculture and natural resource climate strategies to meet the state’s 2045 carbon neutrality goal. But many details regarding some of these proposed investments in nature-based climate solutions are still to be determined, including the status of funding for the California Farmland Conservancy Program and related land access investments.
Our food and farm systems are still struggling under pandemic conditions. Many farmworkers are without safe and affordable housing. Emergency and community-based food distribution systems are struggling under the weight of increased demand. And many farmers and ranchers continue to face unprecedented weather extremes, including wildfires, heat, and drought.
To improve food security, enhance protections for farmworkers, and scale-up sustainable agricultural solutions to the climate crisis, the state will need integrated and holistic investments and related policies. In future blog posts, we will detail how CalCAN will work with our partners to advocate for improved investments in these areas, including a robust roadmap on how we can achieve a more equitable and sustainable food system for all as we work to address the climate crisis.
Below is a breakdown of the Governor’s January budget proposal with a focus on food and agriculture-related investments. If you are interested in how you can voice your support for robust food and farm investments, please drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Smart Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA):
- Healthy Soils Program: $85 million (up from $75 million in FY 21-22)
- State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP): $70 million (up from $50 million)
- Dairy Methane programs, which includes the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP): $48 million (up from $32 million)
- Conservation Management Planning Program: $22 million (up from $17 million) However, different than last year, the Governor’s proposal is silent on investments for conventional farmers seeking technical and financial support to transition to organic agriculture, funded last year at $7 million.
- Pollinator Habitat Program: $15 million (same as last year)
Drought-Related Investments, various agencies:
- Technical Assistance for Underserved Producers, including drought relief for small farmers: $5 million for CDFA’s CA Underserved and Small Producers Program and $5 million for the Department of Water Resources (DWR).
- Groundwater Recharge, DWR: $30 million for water districts and Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to fund planning, analysis, engineering, and construction of groundwater recharge projects.
- SWEEP: See note above.
- Multibenefit Land Repurposing, Department of Conservation: $40 million (down from $50 million in FY 21-22) for land conservation and restoration projects on lands impacted by groundwater resource decline.
- Drought Contingency Funding: $250 million as a “drought contingency set aside to be allocated as part of the spring budget process, when additional water data will be available to inform drought needs.”
Workforce Development/ Climate Research, UC and CSU:
- University of California (UC), Climate Workforce Development and Training Hubs: $35 million
- UC Climate Research Grants: $100 million
- UC Regional Climate Innovation Incubators: $50 million
- CSU Farms Facility Upgrades, Equipment: $50 million
Nature-Based Climate Solutions, CA Natural Resources Agency:
- $768 million over two years to implement the state’s Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy and 30×30 Pathways strategy. Details forthcoming in the May Revise budget.
Other Notable Agriculture and Food Proposed Investments, various agencies:
- Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emissions Reductions (FARMER) Program, California Air Resources Board/Air Quality Districts: $150 million for agricultural equipment upgrades to reduce air pollutants in regions with poor air quality, especially the Central Valley.
- Climate Catalyst Fund, Go Biz: $25 million for Climate Smart Agriculture project loans.
- School Kitchens, Department of General Services: $450 million over three years for school kitchen upgrades and equipment purchases to support school meals.
- Farm to School Program, CDFA: $60 million over two years.
- Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, Strategic Growth Council: $300 million in General Fund over two years. A portion of AHSC funding goes to the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALCP) for the protection of farmlands at risk of sprawl development.
- Circular Economy/Compost/Food Waste, CalRecycle: $65 million in addition to the $270 million over two years from last year’s budget to fund compost infrastructure, food recovery, and more.