CCOF Joins Partners and Farmers to Advocate for Climate-Smart Agriculture Programs

(L to R) Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance; Patricia Carrillo, ALBA; Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-Salinas); Dave Runsten, Community Alliance with Family Farmers; Peter Nell, CCOF
In early March, CCOF joined coalition members of the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) in Sacramento to advocate for California’s climate-smart agriculture programs. Attendees met with California legislators, staff members, and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross to discuss how agricultural programs can help California achieve climate goals and to advocate for the technical assistance grant program bill, AB2377, introduced by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-44).
In over twenty meetings across the state capitol, attendees sought support for cap and trade funds to go toward CDFA’s Healthy Soils Initiative ($25 million), the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) ($40 million), the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) ($40 million), and the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (10 percent of allocation from Strategic Growth Council). 
Advocates also requested support for AB2377, a bill that would require 15 percent of the annual budgets for the Healthy Soils Initiative, SWEEP, and AMMP to be used to provide technical assistance to farmers and ranchers applying for those programs. Improved technical assistance will allow for a greater diversity of producers to successfully participate in the programs. The bill prioritizes technical assistance for small and moderately-scaled farms and ranches and requires that at least 25 percent of technical assistance be provided to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 
Event attendees included CCOF members Ted Loewen of Blossom Bluff Orchards, Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm, and Patricia Carrillo of the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA). Other participants included the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, California FarmLink, Wild Farm Alliance, the Farmers Guild, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, and farmers and ranchers from across California.