Sacramento, CA -— Today California Governor Gavin Newsom released his 2023-24 state budget proposal which maintains essential drought relief but threatens cuts to infrastructure investments for California’s small-scale and underserved farmers. While acknowledging the limitations of this year’s budget deficit, the $168.7 million in budget cuts in programs strike a huge blow to the needs of California’s family farmers as they work to build transformational and equitable food systems and climate change resilience.
“We appreciate the Governor’s continued support for solutions to the state’s water problems, with 98% of commitments continued and a promise to restore the rest should the budget improve. We particularly appreciate the $25 million allocation to the California Underserved Producer Program (CUSP) and $75 million to the Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Grant Program for drought assistance as farmers have suffered large losses over the past three years. The cut of $40 million from the SWEEP program is the most concerning, since improving on-farm water use efficiency is of the utmost importance in efforts to balance water use and implement SGMA.” Dave Runsten, Water Policy Director
“While we appreciate the Governor’s continued support for drought relief needed by California’s small-scale and historically underserved farmers, we are disappointed in the $168.7 million in budget cuts to programs that would support the essential infrastructure and training needs of farmers. These cuts will have a huge impact on the future of family farmers and local food. Over the next several months, CAFF will engage the Administration and Legislature to reduce the scale and impact of these cuts to minimize their effect on family farmers ” – Jamie Fanous, Policy Director
We are disappointed to see the following budget cuts that will impact family farmers and we hope budget revisions will allow them to be restored:
- Elimination of the Farm to Community Food Hubs Program created by AB 1009 (Bloom) and supported by CAFF
- $5.8 million cut to the Urban Agriculture Program
- $5 million cut to the Beginning Farmer & Farmworker Training Program (BFFTP)
- Zero ongoing funding committed to fund the essential UC small farm advisors to provide critical technical assistance to California’s small and underserved farmers.
- $40 million cut to the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program
- $94.5 million in cuts to the sustainable agriculture programs such as the Healthy Soils Pogram and the Pollinator Habitat Program