California governor Gavin Newsom submitted his 2020-21 budget proposal to the Legislature today – a spending plan that maintains structural balance, builds reserves, and reduces liabilities.
For CDFA, the budget would be $600.4 million. Here are some of the key elements:
Farm to School Baseline Funding: This proposal requests $10 million in 2020-21, and $1.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing, to establish six positions to provide baseline and expansion support to the Office of Farm to Fork’s (CDFA-F2F) California Farm to School Network. This request includes $8,496,000 to be made available for grants to qualifying school districts participating in a farm-to-school incubator pilot. This request will allow CDFA-F2F to create a roadmap for transformational change in the school food system that supports California farmers, expands food access, and helps achieve the state vision of a California for All.
Fresno-Merced Innovation Corridor: This proposal requests $33 million in 2020-21 to develop a Fresno-Merced Food Innovation Corridor Grant Program to stimulate research and development, commercialization, and innovation to advance sustainable agricultural production and processing and support high quality jobs in the San Joaquin Valley. CDFA will partner with local education institutions, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and regional partners to prioritize and implement investments for this initiative, leveraging philanthropic and private support.
State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP): This proposal requests $20 million in 2020-21 to award, administer, and monitor SWEEP grants with a focus on depleted groundwater basins.
Methane Reduction: This proposal requests $20 million in 2020-21 for the Dairy Digester Research Program and Alternative Manure Management Program.
Healthy Soils Initiative: This proposal would provide $18 million annually for healthy soils projects for five years, beginning in ’20-’21.
Environmental Farming Incentive Program – A $200 million bond project that would provide grants for projects including healthy soils, on-farm water efficiency, nutrient management, habitat restoration, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and other conservation practices on farms and ranches that assist with climate and water resilience.
Cannabis: The budget proposal includes a significant change in the regulatory structure for cannabis. The Administration plans to consolidate the three licensing entities–CDFA, the Department of Public Health and the Bureau of Cannabis Control–into a single Department of Cannabis Control by July 2021. The Administration will submit more details on this proposal in Spring 2020.
Food Waste Recovery: $188,000 for CDFA to help minimize the waste of edible food for humans and animals; aid in meeting the state’s waste reduction goals; research and implement methods for diverting organic waste from landfills; and develop organic waste processing and recycling infrastructure.
Agricultural and Rural Economic Advisor: This proposal requests $199,000 in ongoing funding to support the activities necessary to develop and implement strategies for improving California’s rural, agriculturally based economies. This will enable CDFA to collect data and information that allows informed policy discussions on strategies and or initiatives that will enhance rural economies through innovation, technology, education, and workforce training.