Agricultural Ecosystem Services has been added for statewide recognition by the California Environmental Protection Agency

Sacramento, California - For the first time in the history of the Governor’s Economic and Leadership Awards (GEELA), the category of Agricultural Ecosystem Services has been added for statewide recognition by the California Environmental Protection Agency. The new category will spotlight the multiple benefits gained from farming and ranching, including innovative and sustainable approaches to water and energy conservation, food crop production efficiency, and management of working lands.

GEELA honors individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and achievements in conservation, environmental protection, public-private partnerships, and strengthening the state’s economy. Applications are due Friday, July 11, 2014 and may be obtained at www.calepa.ca.gov/Awards/GEELA/.

“Ecosystem services are an essential element in farming and ranching,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “They include waterfowl habitat in rice fields, pollinator support on farms, and the resolute commitment to conservation demonstrated throughout agriculture. I urge our farmers and ranchers to strongly consider this new category.”

More information about ecosystem services may be found at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/EnvironmentalStewardship/EcosystemServices.html

Established in 1993, GEELA is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the Natural Resources Agency; the Department of Food and Agriculture; the State Transportation Agency; the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency; the Labor and Workforce Development Agency; the Health and Human Services Agency; and the Governor’s Office.

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