Sacramento, California - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has selected 129 projects totaling $16 million for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). SWEEP projects will result in on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and water savings.
“With more than 100 grants covering thousands of acres of California farmland, these projects represent real-world gains in water use efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “This program provides an important incentive for our farmers and ranchers to accelerate the adoption of scientifically proven technologies and practices that make our state’s agricultural community more sustainable.”
The 2016 SWEEP funding arises from Budget Act of 2015, SB 101, (Chapter 321, Statues of 2015), which authorizes CDFA to “support greenhouse gas emission reductions through water and energy efficiency grants promoting water and energy savings.” SWEEP is funded through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund referred to as the “California Climate Investment” program. The program’s objective is to provide financial incentives for California agricultural operations to invest in irrigation systems and practices that reduce GHG emissions and save water.
The 129 selected projects will leverage an additional $9.7 million in private cost-share dollars. The funding will support GHG emission reductions through projects that include irrigation water-efficiency modifications like drip and microsprinkler systems, energy-efficient water pumps, soil moisture sensors and irrigation scheduling programs that apply water based on crop needs. Applications undergo a quantitative scientific and technical review for greenhouse gas reductions and water savings by academic experts with the University of California and California State University systems.
The program is implemented under the CDFA Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation and the Office of Grant Administration. Authority for such incentive programs comes through the Environmental Farming Act of 1995. The Act mandates that the Department establish and oversee an Environmental Farming Program to provide incentives to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystem and air quality.
More information on the SWEEP program can be found by visiting www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/sweep.