Governor Brown’s proposed budget for 2016-2017 would provide a total of $485 million to CDFA for its mission to promote and protect agriculture, including appropriations for invasive species programs, food safety and security programs, drought analysis and response, a new program to address antibiotic use in livestock, a new licensing program for medical cannabis, and greater investment in a vitally important direction for our state – climate smart agriculture.
It’s called climate smart agriculture because it represents a set of practices that sustainably increase productivity and resilience while reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). There is $75 million proposed for CDFA in this area. The funding would come from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and would include $20 million for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), which provides financial incentives to growers to implement water distribution systems on farms that reduce GHGs and save water; $35 million for the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program to provide financial assistance for the implementation of dairy digesters and other management practices that result in reduced GHG methane emissions; and $20 million to develop and administer an incentive and demonstration program for the state’s Healthy Soils Initiative, which is designed to capture atmospheric carbon and increase carbon levels in California agricultural soils.
CDFA is honored and pleased to have the opportunity to maintain these programs for the people of California. We already have success stories to share. The SWEEP program has already allocated nearly $18 million for water and GHG savings, and more than $11 million has been provided for five new dairy digester projects in the state.
In addition, the Governor’s budget includes $40 million for the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC), which is overseen by the Strategic Growth Council, an interagency body consisting of seven different state agencies, including CDFA and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. SALC supports the protection and management of California’s agricultural lands through planning and permanent protection of farm and ranch lands via agricultural easements.
This proposed climate smart agriculture investment by the State of California will help farmers and ranchers adapt to climate variability while meeting the demand for sustainable food production for a growing world population. We look forward to discussing all this with members of the legislature in the weeks and months ahead as the budget process moves forward.