Governor’s Budget Proposal Advances Climate Smart Agriculture, Drought Response, More Needed to Address Farmworker Safety, Farmland Protection

Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022 by Jeanne Merrill
california capital Source: Pete Bobb, Creative Commons

Governor’s Budget Proposal Advances Climate Smart Agriculture and Drought Response, But More Needed to Address Farmworker Safety, Farmland Protection

Governor Newsom recently released his May revision budget, which sets records in state investments following the largest budget surplus in the state’s history. The Governor’s proposal includes robust funding for Climate Smart Agriculture programs, scaling up investments from last year. There is record investment of more than $7 billion in drought resilience and response. The budget also advances the state’s nature-based climate solutions and 30×30 conservation goal of protecting 30 percent of the state’s land by 2030.

However, there are key missing investments. In the Governor’s Extreme Heat funding proposal to address rising temperatures and its threats to human health, there are no investments proposed for farmworkers. This is despite research that finds that farmworkers have a 20 to 30 fold greater risk of heat-related deaths, compared to other workers.

Also missing from the Governor’s proposal are investments in the California Farmland Conservancy Program and related land access and land tenure resources for beginning and under resourced farmers.

CalCAN is part of a larger Food and Farm Resilience Coalition that is advancing a suite of investments to support farmworker safety and wellbeing, climate resilient farms, healthy food access and regional food economies. Together, we will continue to advocate for key investments to advance equity and resilience for food and farm systems in the state.

Interested in supporting these efforts?

Budget proposal details:

Climate Smart Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA):

  • Healthy Soils Program: $85 million (up from $75 million in FY 21-22); plus a downpayment of $10 million proposed for FY 2023-24
  • State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP): $110 million (up from $50 million in FY 21-22)
  • Dairy Methane programs, which includes the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP): $48 million (up from $32 million in FY 21-22)
  • Conservation Management Planning Program: $22 million (up from $17 million in FY 21-22) 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: $25 million for CDFA’s California Underserved and Small Producers Program (CUSP) and $5 million for the Department of Water Resources (DWR).
  • WETA, on-farm water use and agriculture technical assistance, CDFA: $15 million (up from $5 million)
  • Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Implementation, DWR: $356 million.  More details forthcoming on how these funds may support small farms.
  • 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.

For the complete proposed drought package from the administration, see page 54:

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, which includes the following:
    • $245 million for the Wildlife Conservation Board, including Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Program
    • $10 million for wildland grazing under CalFIRE for wildfire prevention
    • $20 million for a new Climate Smart Land Management Program at DOC to support technical assistance for landowners

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.
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