This week, the California State Legislature passed and Governor Gavin Newsom signed a series of budget bills that include significant investments in drought relief for small farms. After spending months listening to farmers and relaying their concerns to state leaders, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) praised these immediate investments.
“We are pleased to see the state legislature and Governor Newsom’s administration prioritize this financial relief for California’s small scale and underserved farmers that have been severely impacted by the drought. We hope to see swift action in allocating these funds to farmers who need immediate relief,” said Paul Towers, Executive Director at CAFF. “We also look forward to additional investments that enable farmers and our food system to be more resilient in the face of future disasters, including the Climate-Energy package that the Legislature will take up later this summer.”
The investments include:
- 25% ($18.75 million) of the $75 million 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
- $25 million to the California Underserved and Small Producer Program at California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA), aimed to provide small and historically underserved farmers emergency drought relief funding and technical assistance
- $2 million to the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) Program at CDFA, focused on providing farmers with sustainable pest management programs and technical assistance
- $5 million to CDFA in order to provide technical assistance for underserved farmers, including UC Small Farm Advisors
- $1 million to the Strategic Growth Council towards efforts focused on addressing the agricultural land equity crisis
- $85 million to the Healthy Soils Program at CDFA focused to incentivize farmers to adopt sustainable agriculture practices
- $50 million to the SWEEP program at CDFA to assist farmers with water use efficiency
- $60 million to the Farm to School Incubator Program at CDFA’s Office of Farm to Fork to support the advancement of farm to school efforts in California
- $50 million to the Joe Serna Jr Farmworker Housing Grant Program to continue to address the dire lack of housing for farmworkers
Additional investments CAFF is requesting to be part of Drought Response and Resilience portion of the Climate-Energy package include:
- $2 million to Department of Water Resources for education and outreach to promote dry farming in certain regions of the state.
- $10 million to DWR to facilitate greater engagement and outreach to small scale and historically underserved farmers in the planning and implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act