Technical assistance (TA) providers help producers and farmer leaders understand and apply the latest science and best practices, facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning, lead on-farm research and demonstration projects, and assist growers with applications for grants and cost-share programs.
Improved delivery of TA to farmers and ranchers, including outreach and education, project design, grant application assistance, and project implementation, ensure that a greater diversity of producers successfully participate in climate and other agriculture conservation programs and increase their impact.
Small and moderately-scaled producers, including many women and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, who cannot afford consultants, are especially in need of greater support to improve their participation in the Climate Smart Agriculture programs.
CalCAN has advocated for over a decade that with sufficient resources and incentives, farmers can deliver unique and powerful solutions to climate change. In 2018, a CalCAN-sponsored bill (Assembly Bill 2377) was signed into law and led to the creation of a Technical Assistance program, administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance Program
CDFA’s Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance program funds TA providers to support farmers and ranchers in applying for and implementing Climate Smart Agriculture projects. At least 5% of the budgets from the three Climate Smart Agriculture programs administered by CDFA—Healthy Soils Program (HSP), SWEEP, and AMMP—is earmarked specifically for technical assistance grants, including a 25% set-aside for socially disadvantaged farmers. Read more about the CDFA’s Technical Assistance program here.
Water Efficiency Technical Assistance Program (WETA)
Established in 2021, WETA provides TA to farmers and ranchers for on-farm water and energy use efficiency and nutrient management. Grant recipients must prioritize assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and farms and ranches that are 500 acres or less. These funds will support 1) on-farm, one-on-one technical assistance to help farmers evaluate irrigation system efficiency, 2) the coordination or provision of irrigation pump efficiency testing, and 3) farmer training on water use efficiency and nutrient management practices and technology.
Related Bill History
CalCAN sponsored Assembly Bill 2377 which was authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and was signed into law in 2018 a CalCAN-sponsored bill. It established CDFA’s Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance Program, described above. AB 2377 came about in direct response to the feedback of farmers, ranchers, and folks working with them on the ground who said that in order to scale up the impact of the Climate Smart Agriculture programs, farmers and ranchers needed multi-year comprehensive technical assistance, including outreach, education, and assistance with project design, the application process, implementation, and reporting.