State Legislature Passes Record Budget Bills with $1.3 Billion in Equitable, Resilient Food & Farming System Investments

Posted on Monday, September 13th, 2021 by Jeanne Merrill
rivas food tour Assemblymember R. Rivas at a CalCAN farm tour in 2019

Record Investments for an Equitable & Resilient Food & Farming System

The California State Legislature passed several record-setting budget packages last week to complete what has been an unusual pandemic budget process during a time of significant state surplus. The historic budget packages include $1.3 billion for climate smart agriculture programs, farmworker housing, composting facilities, organic transition, school kitchens and food banks upgrades, and much more. The budget packages follow months-long advocacy efforts by CalCAN and our partners in the AB 125 coalition.

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California State Capitol Building. (Source: PeteBobb, WikiMedia)

The legislature restored funding for all of the state’s Climate Smart Agriculture programs, which had their budgets eliminated last year because of the uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic. The state legislature also approved a diversity of new, groundbreaking food and agriculture investments as well as additional investments in climate and water resilience, and wildfire prevention. We will provide more detail on the full climate, water, recycling/compost  and wildfire funding packages in our next budget blog.

CalCAN worked with our partners from the AB 125 coalition to advocate for investments that further the economic recovery and resilience of the state’s food and farm systems. We partnered with Assembly Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair to advance a set of funding proposals for this year’s budget, building upon what is proposed in AB 125, a 2022 bond measure proposal. The bond proposes food and farming infrastructure investments that are needed to build a resilient, equitable, healthy food system.

Many of the AB 125 coalition’s funding proposals went forward this year, making key investments in farmworker safety and well-being, climate-resilient farms, healthy food access, regional food economies, and more. Below is a summary of those investments, including proposed multi-year investments. The budget bills were negotiated with Governor Newsom’s administration and will now head to his desk for final signature.

Thank you to all of our supporters who made phone calls and sent emails in support of robust funding for equitable and resilient food and farm systems. Your efforts really made a difference.

Budget Summary: Food and Farm Economic Recovery and Resilience Investments for FY 2021-22: $1.3 billion

Climate Smart/ Climate Resilient Farms: $219 million for FY 2021-22 for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA),

  • Healthy Soils Program: $75 million for FY 2021-22 and $85 million proposed for FY 2022-23.
  • State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP): $50 million for FY 2021-22 and $50 million proposed for FY 2022-23.
  • Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP): $32 million for dairy methane (AMMP and digesters) with a priority for funding AMMP projects. $48 million proposed for FY 2022-23.
  • Technical Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers: $5.4 million for underserved farmers for FY 2021-22. $5 million for water efficiency technical assistance.
  • Organic Transition Program: $7 million for FY 2021-22.
  • Conservation Management Planning Program: $10 million for FY 2021-22. $22 million proposed for the management program and for organic transition in FY 2023-24.
  • Sustainable Pest Management/Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS): $9.8 million including $2 million for BIFS in FY 2021-22.
  • Beginning Farmer Training and Farm Manager Apprenticeships: $5 million for FY 2021-22. $5 million proposed for FY 202-23.
  • Pollinator Habitat Program: $15 million for FY 2021-22. $15 million proposed for FY 2022-23
  • Research in Greenhouse Gas Reduction in Agriculture: $5 million for FY 2021-22. $5 million proposed for FY 2022-23.

Farmworker Safety and Well-Being:  $165 million for FY 2021-22 for various departments.

  • Joe Serna, Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant Program (Dept. of Housing and Community Development): $100 million for FY 2021-22.
  • Farmworker Housing Upgrades (Office of Migrant Services): $30 million for FY 2021-22
  • Low-Income Home Weatherization for Farmworker Housing (Community and Development Services): $25 million for FY 2021-22
  • Pesticide Notification System (Dept. of Pesticide Regulation): $10 million for FY 2021-22.

Healthy Food Access Infrastructure: $352 million for various departments

  • School Kitchen Upgrades and Workforce Development (Dept. of General Services): $150 million for FY 2021-22. (these funds do not include school kitchen construction)
  • Capacity and Infrastructure Funding for Food Banks (Dept. of Social Services): $150 million for FY 2021-22.
  • Urban Agriculture Program (CDFA): $12 million for FY 2021-22.
  • Senior Nutrition Infrastructure Investments (Dept. of Aging): $40 million for FY 2021-22.

Regional Food Economies Infrastructure: $25 million for CDFA

  • Healthy Refrigeration Program (CDFA): $10 million for FY 2021-22. $10 million proposed for FY 2022-23.
  • Farm to Community Food Hubs Program (CDFA): $15 million for FY 2021-22.

Sustainable Groundwater Management: $230 million for various departments

  • Sustainable Groundwater Management Implementation (Dept. of Water Resources): $180 million for FY 2021-22. $60 million proposed for FY 2022-23 and $60 million proposed for FY 2023-24.
  • Multi-Benefit Land Repurposing (Dept. of Conservation): $50 million for FY 2021-22.

Food Waste/Compost Infrastructure: $130 million for CalRecycle

  • Food Waste Reduction/Compost Program (CalRecycle): $130 million for FY 2021-22.

Fairgrounds: $190 million for CDFA

  • Fairgrounds and Community Resilience Centers Upgrades and Development (CDFA): $190 million for FY 2021-22.

Additional noteworthy agriculture investments (CDFA):

  • Incentives for Alternatives to Agricultural Burning in the San Joaquin Valley: $180 million for FY 2021-22.
  • California Farm to School Incubator Grant Program: $30 million for FY 2021-22. $30 million proposed for FY 2022-23.
  • California Nutrition Incentive Program: $10 million for FY 2021-22. $10 million proposed for FY 2022-23.
  • Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program: $500,000 for FY 2021-22.
  • Sustainable California Grown Cannabis: $9 million for FY 2021-22
  • Regulatory Reporting and Impacts Review for Agriculture: $4 million for FY 2021-22. $2 million proposed for FY 2022-23.
  • Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation Initiative: $30 million for FY 2021-22.
  • Invasive Species Council: $15 million for FY 2021-22.
  • Climate Catalyst Fund: $25 million proposed for FY 2022-23.

Want more details on any of these programs?  Drop us a line if you think one or more of these programs should be highlighted in our upcoming blogs.  info@calcalimateag.org

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