Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

CDFA revised budget for 2020-2021

Governor Gavin Newsom submitted a revised 2020-2021 budget proposal to the State Legislature today.

Because of COVID-19, California and economies across the country are confronting a steep and unprecedented economic crisis — facing massive job losses and revenue shortfalls.

The Governor’s budget reflects that emergency. The administration is proposing a budget to fund our most essential priorities, and to support workers and small businesses as we restart our economy.

Because of the size of the hole, there is no responsible way to avoid cuts. The budget document shows that the most painful cuts will be triggered if the federal government does not pass a package that helps states.

Here are some of items of note for CDFA.

Farm to School: This proposal requesting $10,000,000 in 2020-21, and $1,504,000 GF in 2021-22 and ongoing is sustained as it was in the Governor’s January budget. The funding would 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 Local Educational Agencies participating in the farm to school incubator pilot, and it would allow CDFA-F2F to create a roadmap to 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.

CalCannabis:  The May Revision includes $64,302,000 and 165 positions to continue the implementation of cannabis cultivation licensing and enforcement under the Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.  This will enable CalCannabis to continue planning for consolidation with the three cannabis licensing agencies and work with the State Legislature in the coming year with the goal of establishing the new Department of Cannabis Control in July 2021.

Proposition 12: The May Revision includes $1,443,000 and 6 positions in 2020-21, and $2,818,000 and 15 positions in 2021-22 and ongoing to fund this program. The people of California overwhelmingly voted in favor of Proposition 12; in favor of poultry, swine and veal calves raised with strict enforced requirements regarding confinement practices in the production of the products that will be sold in California.

Fairgrounds: The Network of California Fairs has historically supported its own operations through revenue-generating activities with limited supplemental state support. As a result of COVID-19 impacts, fairs are canceling revenue-generating activities and are projected to lose approximately $98 million in revenue between March and June 2020, and revenue loss is expected to continue. Many fairs have little to no reserves and must initiate the layoff process immediately as they may become insolvent. The May Revision includes $40.3 million to support state-affiliated fairs that are projected to have insufficient reserves to pay legally mandated costs that may be incurred during the state civil service layoff process, including staff salary, payout of leave balances, and insurance. 

The May Revision eliminates $2,250,000 that was proposed for Cal Expo in the Governor’s Budget in January, as that is factored into the $40.3 million proposed in the May Revision.

Fresno-Merced Future of Food (F3) Innovation Initiative:  The May Revise reduces funding from $33 million to $2 million.  The Fresno-Merced Future of Food (F3) Innovation Initiative seeks to develop world-recognized, Climate-Smart Food and Agriculture Systems that provide solutions to chronic economic and environmental challenges within the Central Valley that have been exasperated by the COVID outbreak. The Administration sees this proposal as a unique opportunity to spur new technologies appropriate for all scales of agriculture and job growth within the food and agriculture system that is inclusive and sustainable.

The May Revision eliminates $2,250,000 that was proposed for Cal Expo in the Governor’s Budget in January, as that is factored into the $40.3 million proposed in the May Revision.

Cap and Trade: Historically, CDFA’s Climate Smart Agriculture programs have been funded by auction proceeds from the cap-and-trade program: the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The May Revision maintains the Governor’s Budget program allocations but adds a “pay-as-you-go” mechanism and certain priority programs, such as the FARMER program. After fulfilling the allocations to these programs, any remaining auction proceeds would be allocated to other programs, including methane reduction and healthy soils, on a proportional basis.

State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP): The May Revision eliminates $20 million that was included in the Governor’s Budget in January for SWEEP grants. Although the new fiscal reality prevents SWEEP from being included in this proposed revised budget, the fact is that there are a total of 725 projects funded with past investment of $72 million. That has resulted in significant work to improve resiliency. CDFA will continue to partner with NRCS and other grant programs to promote this kind of on-farm water use efficiency.

Biodiversity: The May Revision eliminates $3,901,000 from CDFA’s budget that was authorized in the Budget Act of 2019. 

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