Governor Gavin Newsom recently submitted the California budget for 2020-21 to the Legislature which contains significant funding support for a variety of programs aimed at the agricultural industry and rural communities. Some of the budget priorities include water quality and availability, addressing climate change concerns and air quality, and improvements to infrastructure. Under the Governor’s $222 billion budget the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) would receive $600.4 million for the department’s various initiatives.
“The investments by Governor Newsom in the proposed budget to our rural communities, the food and agricultural sector and for climate resilience is a strong step forward,” State Board of Food and Agriculture President and Central Valley farmer Don Cameron said in a blog post. “I’m especially proud of the commitment that the Governor is providing to CDFA’s ongoing Climate Smart Agricultural Programs – water use efficiency, healthy soils and methane reduction – while also assisting in the retrofit of diesel farm equipment (FARMER).”
The proposed California budget includes $33 million for the development of a Fresno-Merced Food Innovation Corridor Grant Program to enhance sustainable agricultural practices in the San Joaquin Valley. The proposal also requests $20 million for the continued efforts to address methane reduction, as well as $18 million annually for healthy soils projects for a duration of five years. The budget also addresses climate change on a variety of fronts, including an allotment of $12 billion for multiple initiatives such as the Climate Catalyst Fund which would help finance investments in low-carbon transportation options and sustainable agriculture programs.
“The governor’s budget reinforces his commitment to rural California,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson said in a press release. “Farm Bureau will work with the administration and the Legislature to assure that programs addressing the needs of farmers, ranchers and rural California receive the budget investments required to enhance the quality of life and economy throughout the state.”