Family farmers praise drought relief, call for continued investments in food system

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2022

Sacramento, CA – Earlier today, Governor Gavin Newsom released a revised proposed state budget that includes significant investments in drought relief for small farms. Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), a group that represents small and mid-sized farmers in California, praised these immediate investments while calling for longer-term investments as well:

“California’s family farmers face significant uncertainty in the face of a mega-drought, climate change and the pandemic. To support these farmers – cornerstones of our local food system – Governor Gavin Newsom and state leaders have proposed much-needed investments. We applaud them while also urging more be done to ensure farmers, their families and small businesses remain resilient into the future,” said Dave Runsten, Senior Policy Analyst at CAFF. “California must take action immediately to ensure that sustainable groundwater management includes the equitable participation of smaller farmers while also investing in water-smart practices, such as dry-farming education for coastal wine grape growers, to steward our most precious resource and feed California for generations to come.” 

“Despite the commendable investment in drought relief, our small-scale and historically underserved farmers struggle to see a stable and equitable future,” said Jamie Fanous, Senior Policy Advocate and Organizer at CAFF. “More work is needed to shift our current rigid food supply chain into one that centers local food producers with investments in local processing, tool sharing, and technological investments for small farms.”

Important elements that CAFF supports in the proposed revised budget are:

  • 25% ($18.75M) of $75M Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Program at Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development is dedicated to economic relief for small and historically underserved farmers, including additional technical assistance to address access barriers.
  • $25M in drought funding through California Department of Food & Agriculture’s (CDFA) California Underserved and Small Producer Program to provide water access support and relief
  • $2.7M in technical assistance funding through CDFA for small and historically underserved farmers to manage pests sustainably