Governor Brown’s proposed budget for 2014-2015 reflects a fiscal outlook that, while positive, continues to exercise caution. There are prudent investments in infrastructure with a focus on schools, health care and public safety. The budget also pays down debt.
For CDFA, there is a proposal to build infrastructure to combat climate change and facilitate greater environmental stewardship that would provide $20 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for ’14-’15 and ’15-’16. These are commonly called Cap-and-Trade funds. The proposal is for activities promoting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions in the agricultural sector.
-$12 million for the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program to facilitate the design and construction of dairy digester systems.
-$5 million for the Nitrogen Research and Management Program to fund research and technical assistance on reducing nitrous oxide emissions, nitrification inhibitors, water and nitrogen movement in the environment and evaluation of water and nitrogen management practices.
-$3 million for the Alternative and Renewable Fuels Program to develop fuel quality specifications and standards for renewable and zero emissions systems.
For agriculture, infrastructure includes farmland, and the governor is recognizing the crucial role of preservation by proposing funding for preservation programs. There is a total of $100 million in Cap-and-Trade funding for the Sustainable Communities program, which includes farmland preservation. Sustainable Communities is overseen by the Strategic Growth Council, of which CDFA is a member. The funds will help California meet carbon reduction goals for climate change mitigation, and preserve an important part of our agricultural economy and heritage.
Additionally, the governor’s budget proposes $1 million from the general fund for the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, a joint venture between the University of California and CDFA that serves as the backbone of California’s early warning system for food-borne pathogens and diseases common to animals and humans. The funding will be a one-time appropriation to help offset unfunded salary and benefit increases for positions, which will provide time to develop a sustainable long-term funding plan.
Also, there is a proposal for one-time funding totaling $2 million for deferred maintenance needs at several CDFA facilities around the state.