Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators are debating the future of climate policy in California, and they need to hear from you about agriculture’s important role. Will you let them know that you support ongoing funding for California’s Climate Smart Agriculture programs? These programs provide grants to farmers for practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.
A vote on the budget will happen in the next two weeks — now is the time to make a difference. Call your state representatives to support climate-friendly farming solutions. Phone calls are much more impactful than email and it takes less than a minute to leave a message.
The message is simple:
“My name is ___________ (include your farm, business or organization name if appropriate) and I live in _________ (town/city).
I’m calling to support on-going funding for the Climate Smart Agriculture programs, including (name your favorite program – see list below.) in the state budget. The programs provide crucial resources for farmers and ranchers to provide climate solutions and improve our environment overall.”
Background: Since 2014, California has invested over $3 billion in climate change programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make our communities more resilient. Included in those investments are the Climate Smart Agriculture programs, which provide funding to farmers for permanently protecting farmland, reducing water use, improving soil health, and reducing methane emissions on dairies. Together, they have received over $180 million to date, providing key resources for farmers and ranchers to address climate change.
• Healthy Soils Program: New this year, the Healthy Soils Program will fund on-farm soil management projects and demonstration projects that improve carbon storage on farms and ranches, while also improving air and water quality. $7.5 million has been budgeted this year, and we want the program to grow.
• State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP): An enormously popular program, SWEEP has funded over 500 irrigation improvement projects, saving water and energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Administered by CDFA, SWEEP funds irrigation management improvements like switching diesel powered water pumps to solar, soils moisture monitoring, drip irrigation and more.
• Dairy Methane Reduction Program: The Dairy Methane program include grants for dairy producers to reduce potent methane emissions. It funds anaerobic digesters and importantly the new Alternative Manure Management Practices Program to fund changes in dairy management such as a shift to composting, dry manure management, etc.
• Sustainable Ag Lands Conservation Program: Part of the Strategic Growth Council, SALCP funds conservation easements on agricultural lands at risk of sprawl and rural ranchette development. To date, easements have been funded on 33,000 acres in 17 counties. The program also funds local government policy efforts to improve farmland conservation and prevent urban sprawl.
You can find more information here: http://calclimateag.org/overview-of-climate-smart-agriculture/