Governor Brown recently signed the Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan bills mapping out where nearly $1.5 billion in cap and trade revenues will be heading. The agriculture industry is set to receive $300 million under the plan.
Historically agriculture has not been the recipient of climate funding, while still being expected to conform to new legislation dictating emissions levels. Various senators and assemblymen, along with industry groups such as the Western Agricultural Processors Association played an important role in helping craft language to ensure the ag industry would receive financial assistance as part of the cap and trade program.
The Department of Food and Agriculture will be granted $99 million for dairy digester research and development and alternative manure management; twice the amount received the last fiscal year.
The Energy Commission will get $60 million to be used for grants, loans and other financial incentives provided for food processors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another $6 million will go towards renewable energy research and development in the agricultural sector.
The remaining $135 million will go towards funding grants, rebates, and other financial incentives to reduce emissions from agricultural pumps, harvesting equipment, tractors, and other equipment used in agricultural operations.
Some in the agriculture industry did not support the cap and trade program, and others saw it as the only option available to obtain some financial assistance as California moves to regulate greenhouse gas emissions further. Farmers, hullers, processors, and others that are subject to emission reduction requirements will now be afforded some necessary support in meeting the new criteria.