Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan – Highlights for Agriculture


Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan proposes historic new investments in sustainable agriculture and healthy food systems. The budget builds on the $285 million included in the Governor’s January Budget and proposes an additional $641 million over two years for a total $926 million in strategic investments to support California’s agriculture industry as it addresses continued challenges while also producing nutritious food and advancing the state’s climate resilience objectives.

The Plan proposes $67.5 million to develop a healthier, more resilient and more equitable food system. Building on our leadership as the top agricultural state in the nation and a global climate leader, the Plan proposes a $532 million package to advance climate smart agriculture, improve drought resiliency, fund alternatives to agricultural burning, increase pollinator habitat on working lands and support conservation planning to build resilience.

Supporting an equitable recovery, the Plan calls for $42 million in new investments to support economic recovery, resiliency and high-road job growth through investing in innovation, assistance to underserved farmers, and farmer training and manager apprenticeships.

HEALTHY, RESILIENT AND EQUITABLE FOOD SYSTEMS

Governor Newsom proposes $67.5 million to develop a healthier, more resilient and more equitable food system for all Californians. This package supports a food system that provides nutritional security and education beginning in early childhood, increases food access and builds stronger local and regional supply chains through key programs:

● Farm to School – Additional $20 million investment in the California Farm to School Network for broadening the Incubator Grant Program.
● Urban Agriculture Program – $12 million to support urban farmers and community-based organizations in revitalizing urban food systems.
● California Nutrition Incentive Program – $15 million to continue nutrition incentives for low-income shoppers.
● Healthy Refrigeration Grant Program – $20 million to expand this pilot program that makes a greater variety of nutritious California-grown foods available in low-access areas.
● Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program – $500,000 to leverage federal funds for providing low-income seniors with access to locally grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets.

CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE FOR SUSTAINABILITY & RESILIENCE

The California Comeback Plan  proposes a $532 million package to advance climate
smart agriculture, improve drought resiliency, fund alternatives to agricultural burning, increase pollinator habitat on working lands and support conservation planning for a more resilient and robust agricultural system. The Plan includes the following investments:

● Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) –  Additional $193 million over two years for the replacement of agricultural harvesting equipment, pumps and tractors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
● Alternatives to open agricultural burning – $150 million to incentivize alternatives to open agricultural burning in the San Joaquin Valley.
● Healthy Soils Program – Additional $70 million to provide grants for on-farm soil management practices that sequester carbon.
● Livestock methane reduction – $60 million to reduce methane emissions in dairy and livestock operations.
● Pollinator Habitat Program – $30 million for pollinator habitat and forage on working lands.
● Technical assistance for conservation management plans – $20 million to support the development of conservation plans for climate change mitigation and resilience and to enhance water, habitat and other resources.
● Sustainable California Grown Cannabis Pilot Program – $9 million to incentivize legal legacy outdoor cannabis growers to adopt and gather data on environmental best practices.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY & HIGH-ROAD JOB GROWTH

California is committed to promoting an equitable economic recovery across the state, including rural communities, and for small and underserved producers and farmworkers. The California Comeback Plan proposes $42 million in new investments to support economic recovery, resiliency and high-road job growth through technical assistance to underserved farmers, new farmer training and manager apprenticeships:

● Technical assistance program for underserved farmers – Additional $2 million for technical assistance and grants for small and underserved farmers. This builds on technical assistance funding through the UC Cooperative Extension that was previously announced.
● New and beginning farmer training and farm manager apprenticeships program – $10 million to provide training and incubator programs for new and beginning farmers, with a focus on training farmworkers.
● Fresno-Merced Future of Food (F3) Innovation Initiative – $30 million for a regional hub to stimulate innovation on sustainable agricultural production and processing, address environmental challenges and support high-quality
jobs.
● Rural economic advisor – Specialized support for the Department of Food and Agriculture to improve California’s rural, agriculturally based economies.

KEY INVESTMENTS IN WATER INFRASTRUCTURE, DROUGHT RESPONSE
AND CLIMATE RESILIENCE

Climate change is making droughts more common and more severe. The California Comeback Plan invests $5.1 billion in drought support, water supply and natural landscape projects around the state and an additional $1 billion in direct aid for Californians who have past-due water bills. In addition, the Governor’s Plan includes:

● $5 million to provide technical assistance for on-farm water use efficiency.
● $1.5 million for drought-related economic analysis and decision-making tools for agriculture.

WATER INFRASTRUCTURE, DROUGHT RESPONSE AND CLIMATE RESILIENCE

Climate change is making droughts more common and more severe. The California Comeback Plan invests $5.1 billion in drought support, water supply and natural landscape projects around the state and an additional $1 billion in direct aid for Californians who have past-due water bills. For CDFA, this includes investments for:

● $60 million additional investments to the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
● $5 million to provide technical assistance for on-farm water use efficiency
● $1.5 million for drought-related economic analysis and decision-making tools for agriculture.

Additionally, the Emergency Response chapter proposed new investments of $150 million to support the development and enhancement of community resilience centers. Funding would be available to improve both local fairground and other community facilities to enhance the state’s emergency preparedness capabilities, particularly in response to climate change. Funding could be used to support infrastructure for emergency evacuation, shelter, base camps during emergency events, and critical deferred maintenance. Elements for this infrastructure may include cooling and heating centers, clean air centers, and extended emergency evacuation response centers with community kitchens, shower facilities, broadband, back-up power and other community needs due to wildfires, floods, and other emergencies or climate events.

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California Natural Resources Agency announces first two topical workshops and advisory panels on advancing 30X30 and climate smart lands

From a Resources Agency news release

The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) will launch a series of virtual topical workshops focused on the State’s commitment to conserve 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 (30×30) and enlist California’s vast network of natural and working lands in the fight against climate change.

The first two workshops will focus on opportunities to deliver on climate change goals (June 8) and to advance equity (June 15). Workshops will feature an advisory panel presentation by followed by a public comment opportunity. Future workshop topics will include biodiversity and conservation of lands and coastal waters. 

In 2020, California committed to protecting 30 percent of its land and coastal waters by 2030 through Governor Newsom’s executive order. To inform this effort, CNRA is developing a “Pathways to 30×30” document to identify strategies to achieve 30×30. The executive order also called for CNRA to develop a Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy intended to guide long-term climate action on California’s lands.

“California has set an ambitious goal to protect 30 percent of California lands and coastal waters by 2030 and advance nature-based solutions to address climate change, equity and species loss. We can only achieve this by holistically examining the depth and breadth of these issues with input from a variety of stakeholders,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. “These conversations will be foundational to informing our strategic vision.” 

Advisory panels will present insights and recommendations in a summary report that will be posted and shared publicly in advance of relevant workshops at www.CaliforniaNature.ca.gov.

Public participation is key to these workshops, and participants will have an opportunity to share their perspectives and insights on the topic. Key takeaways related to each topic will inform the Pathways to 30×30 and Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy.

All meetings are open to the public and will be accessible by Zoom, a phone dial-in option, and YouTube livestream. Advance registration is required and participants who wish to make a 90-second public comment will need to register to provide verbal input during the public comment session.

Topical Workshop: Expanding Climate Action Through Nature-Based Solutions 

Scheduled for June 8 from 3 to 6 p.m., the climate workshop will explore how the Pathways to 30×30 and Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy can best deliver on the state’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality and build climate resilience. 

To register visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lNd7hbdZTuWJc917Tf3L9Q

Topical Workshop: Using Nature-Based Solutions to Advance Equity

Scheduled for June 15 from 3 to 6 p.m., this workshop will explore opportunities for the State to promote equity and access through its conservation and climate smart land strategies.

To register visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9T3p9AWOTgm46qNWSWsVxQ 

Read more here

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Did You Know? Healthy soil grants provide millions for soil health

Read the report here

Learn more about CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program

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Governor Newsom announces $5.1 billion package for water infrastructure and drought response as part of $100 billion California comeback plan

Governor Newsom today at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County


Package includes billions for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities

Part of the Governor’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan, a comprehensive recovery plan to tackle five of the state’s most persistent challenges

Governor Gavin Newsom today proposed a $5.1 billion package of immediate drought response and long-term water resilience investments to address immediate, emergency needs, build regional capacity to endure drought and safeguard water supplies for communities, the economy and the environment. The Governor’s proposal comes as part of a week-long tour highlighting the Administration’s comprehensive recovery plan tackling the most persistent challenges facing California.  

“Shoring up our water resilience, especially in small and disadvantaged communities, is imperative to safeguarding the future of our state in the face of devastating climate change impacts that are intensifying drought conditions and threatening our communities, the economy and the environment,” said Governor Newsom. “This package of bold investments will equip the state with the tools we need to tackle the drought emergency head-on while addressing long-standing water challenges and helping to secure vital and limited water supplies to sustain our state into the future.”

In addition to the $5.1 billion investment, the Governor is proposing $1 billion to help Californians pay their overdue water bills. 

The Governor announced the package today in Merced County while visiting the San Luis Reservoir, which sits at less than half of capacity and just 57 percent of average for this date. Earlier in the day, Governor Newsom significantly expanded his April 21 drought emergency proclamation to include Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed counties. In total, 41 counties are now under a drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population.

The Governor’s $5.1 billion proposed investment, over four years, aligns with his July 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio, a roadmap to water security for all Californians in the face of climate change. It is shaped by lessons learned during the 2012-16 drought, such as the need to act early and gather better data about water systems. The package includes:

  • $1.3 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities. 
  • $150 million for groundwater cleanup and water recycling projects. 
  • $300 million for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation to improve water supply security, water quality and water reliability. 
  • $200 million for water conveyance improvements to repair major water delivery systems damaged by subsidence. 
  • $500 million for multi-benefit land repurposing to provide long-term, flexible support for water users. 
  • $230 million for wildlife corridor and fish passage projects to improve the ability of wildlife to migrate safely. 
  • $200 million for habitat restoration to support tidal wetland, floodplain, and multi-benefit flood-risk reduction projects. 
  • $91 million for critical data collection to repair and augment the state’s water data infrastructure to improve forecasting, monitoring, and assessment of hydrologic conditions. 
  • $60 million for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program grants to help farmers reduce irrigation water use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural pumping. 
  • $33 million for fisheries and wildlife support to protect and conserve California’s diverse ecosystems. 
  • $27 million for emergency and permanent solutions to drinking water drought emergencies.

Learn more about current conditions, the state’s response and informational resources available to the public at the state’s new drought preparedness website.

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Governor Newsom expands drought emergency to Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and Tulare Lake Watershed counties

Dry fields and bare trees stand at Panoche Road, looking west, on Wednesday February 5, 2014, near San Joaquin, CA.

41 counties now under drought state of emergency to protect communities and the environment, representing 30 percent of the state’s population

Governor Gavin Newsom today significantly expanded his April 21 drought emergency proclamation to include the Klamath River, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and Tulare Lake Watershed counties, where accelerated action is needed to protect public health, safety and the environment. In total, 41 counties are now under a drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population.

Climate change-induced early warm temperatures and extremely dry soils have further depleted the expected runoff water from the Sierra-Cascade snowpack, resulting in historic and unanticipated reductions in the amount of water flowing to major reservoirs, especially in Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed counties.

“With the reality of climate change abundantly clear in California, we’re taking urgent action to address acute water supply shortfalls in northern and central California while also building our water resilience to safeguard communities in the decades ahead,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re working with local officials and other partners to protect public health and safety and the environment, and call on all Californians to help meet this challenge by stepping up their efforts to save water.” 

In April, Governor Newsom signed an emergency proclamation directing state agencies to take immediate action to bolster drought resilience across the state and declaring a State of Emergency in Mendocino and Sonoma counties due to severe drought conditions in the Russian River Watershed. Today, the Governor took action to ensure an expedited response to address acute drought impacts in Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed counties.

Today’s drought emergency proclamation adds the following 39 counties: Del Norte, Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity, Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba counties. Additionally, the proclamation provides new authority for the existing drought emergency announced on April 21 for Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

Extraordinarily warm temperatures in April and early May separate this critically dry year from all others on California record. California experienced an accelerated rate of snow melt in the Sacramento, Feather and American River watersheds, which feed the major reservoirs of the state and federal water projects. This was exacerbated when much of the snowpack, sitting on very dry ground, seeped into the earth rather than flowing into our rivers and streams and into these reservoirs. Warming temperatures also prompted water diverters below the dams to withdraw their water much earlier and in greater volumes than typical even in other recent critically dry years. These factors reduced expected water supplies by more than 500,000 acre feet, enough to supply up to one million households with water for a year. The drastic reduction in water supplies means these reservoirs are extremely low for water users, including farmers, and fish and wildlife in the counties the drought proclamation covers.  

The Governor’s proclamation directs the State Water Board to consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases and diversion limitations to conserve water upstream later in the year to maintain water supply, improve water quality and protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead. The state of emergency also enables flexibilities in regulatory requirements and procurement processes to mitigate drought impacts and directs state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water from one water right holder to another, enabling available water to flow where it is needed most. 

The text of today’s emergency proclamation can be found here

The Governor’s executive action last month directed state agencies to partner with local water suppliers to promote conservation through the Save Our Water campaign, a critical resources for Californians during the 2012-2016 drought. Some municipalities have already adopted mandatory local water-saving requirements, and many more have called for voluntary water use reductions. 

“It’s time for Californians to pull together once again to save water,” said California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “All of us need to find every opportunity to save water where we can: limit outdoor watering, take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing dishes. Homeowners, municipalities, and water diverters can help by addressing leaks and other types of water loss, which can account for over 30 percent of water use in some areas.” 

Actions by the Administration to address drought to date include: 

  • Identifying water suppliers at extreme financial risk that may need additional support due to the combined impacts of COVID and drought. 
  • Updating the Department of Water Resources’ Dry Well website, which tracks voluntarily reported supply issues by counties. 
  • Streamlining water transfer processes. 
  • Issuing letters from the State Water Resources Control Board to water right holders, urging them to plan for potential shortages by reducing water use and adopting practical conservation measures.  
  • Completing the state’s first drinking water needs assessment in which the State Water Board identified small water systems and domestic wells that are failing or at risk of failing to meet the state’s drinking water standards. By working toward solutions with these systems, we are improving their drought resiliency.  

For more tips on saving water, visit www.saveourwater.com

Learn more about current conditions, the state’s response and informational resources available to the public at the state’s new drought preparedness website.

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USDA invests more than $90 million in grants for local and regional food producers affected by pandemic

USDA News Release

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of $92.2 million in competitive grant funding under the 2018 Farm Bill’s Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). The LAMP grants announced today are funded through the Farmers Market program as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative. USDA launched this initiative in March to address shortfalls and disparities in how assistance was distributed in previous COVID-19 assistance packages, with a specific focus on strengthening outreach to underserved producers and communities and small and medium agricultural operations. These grants support the development, coordination and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and enterprises and value-added agricultural products.

“We have an opportunity to transform our nation’s food system with a greater focus on resilient, local and regional food systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These grants will help maximize opportunities for economic growth and ingenuity in local and regional food systems to kickstart this transformation. LAMP grants have a history of generating new income sources for small, beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and creating new market opportunities for value-added and niche products.”

USDA encourages projects that assist underserved local and regional agricultural businesses, producer networks and associations, and local and tribal government in responding to COVID-19 disruptions and impacts. Funding is not contingent upon applicants directly addressing these issues.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring equity across the Department, removing barriers to access, and building inclusive programs for the agricultural sector. For grants intending to serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, veteran producers, and/or underserved communities, USDA encourages applicants engage and involve those beneficiaries when developing projects.

Increasing Local Food Access Through Direct and Intermediary Producer-to-Consumer Markets

USDA will award $76.9 million ($22.5 million in the 2018 Farm Bill, $47 million provided as emergency funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and $7.4 in annual appropriations) to FMLFPP. Projects under the Farmers Market Promotion Program support direct-to-consumer markets like farmers markets and CSAs. Projects under the Local Food Promotion Program supports indirect-to-consumer markets like food hubs and value-added product incubators.

Building Robust and Resilient Local and Regional Food Economies

USDA will award $15.3 million ($5 million in the 2018 Farm Bill and $10.3 provided as emergency funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021) to RFSP to fund public-private partnerships that build and strengthen viability and resilience of local or regional food economies. Projects focus on increase the availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products and alleviating unnecessary administrative and technical barriers. Projects can cover the planning and design of a local and regional food economy as well as implementing or expanding an existing one.

Application and Grant Eligibility

Applications undergo external expert peer review and the process is highly competitive. All grants require matching funds from community partners or stakeholders. The amounts and match amounts vary by program and are specified in the RFAs.

Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due dates established in the respective Request for Applications (RFA’s). Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application. Read more in AMS Late and Non-Responsive Application Policy (PDF, 431 KB).

For more information about grant eligibility and previously funded projects, visit the FMPP webpage, LFPP webpage or RFSP webpage or contact us at USDAFMPPQuestions@usda.gov, USDALFPPQuestions@usda.gov,or IPPGrants@usda.gov.

Technical Assistance

AMS offers RFA webinars for new applicants to help walk them through the RFA while also providing helpful hints on what has made past recipients successful. Additionally, Frequently Asked Questions are posted on the AMS Grants website, and grants management specialists are standing by to answer any incoming questions and emails during regular business hours.

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“We Love California” — California Grown Annual Report for 2020

The year 2020 brought many challenges that affected everyone, including the California agricultural industry. From securing personal protective equipment (PPE) in the fields and in production lines, to redirecting food from foodservice to retail, to ensuring food banks obtained enough food to feed those in need, the farming community in California rose to the challenge. This annual report will show that, in lockstep with the agricultural industry, the California Grown marketing program pivoted messaging and execution to meet consumers where they were during the pandemic. The campaign “Love, California” was reconstructed to better align with the messaging strategy during the pandemic. As a result, “We Love California” was launched. The “We Love California” campaign expressed gratitude for an agricultural sector that consistently worked through the pandemic to ensure a safe and stable food supply for families all over the country.

California Grown helps ensure consumers understand the value of buying California-grown agricultural products and what it brings to the state’s communities and economy. The Buy California Marketing Agreement, which manages California Grown, is the only agricultural marketing organization that promotes all California grown agricultural products. It is supported by 24 agricultural commissions, boards and associations, hundreds of farming families/companies, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and federal grants.

Read the 2020 annual report here

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Governor Newsom on California Public Service Recognition Week

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Grant funding awarded to six Sustainable Groundwater Management Act projects

Flooding farmland to recharge groundwater

From the Department of Water Resources

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is awarding funding support for six projects to address the impact of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). A total of $26 million in grant funding is being made available for the SGMA projects. The funding support comes from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. Sixteen individual construction projects within Critically Overdrafted Basins will take place through the six grant awards.

The Fresno Irrigation District has been awarded nearly $4.9 million for Kings Basin 2021 GSP Implementation Projects. Mid-Kaweah GSA will use the $3.7 million grant for Kaweah Subbasin Groundwater Recharge and Sustainability Projects. The Southern Merced Subbasin Recharge Project overseen by the Merced Irrigation District will be supported by nearly $5 million. Madera County is receiving a combined $8.4 million for the East Madera Subbasin Recharge Project Phase 1 and Eastside Bypass Recharge for Subsidence and Flood Risk Reduction Phase 1. Westlands Water District GSA will receive nearly $4 million for the Pasajero Groundwater Recharge Project.

The SGMA projects include the construction of 60 wells in Fresno County to use stormwater to replenish diminished groundwater aquifers. Three projects will help develop infrastructure for Flood Managed Aquifer Recharge on 45,000 acres of farmland in Madera County. DWR is set to begin working with grantees immediately in the development and execution of the grant agreements. A second round of the grant program is set to begin in the spring of 2022 with approximately $70 million in grant funding to be made available. The grant support is made possible by Proposition 68.

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Video — Secretary Ross thanks CDFA employees during California Public Service Recognition Week, May 2-8

Learn more about California Public Service Recognition Week

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