- Author: Heather Montgomery
- Author: Ana Resendiz
- Author: Michael Jaquez
Many of you might know that the 2023 State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) has been placed on pause due to a deficit in the state budget. This pause will remain in effect until Governor Newsom releases his proposed budget later this summer. There was talk of a possible retraction of funds that could reach back as far as 2023.
On January 10, 2024, Governor Newsom released his budget. At this point, there was a swap of funds with the SWEEP that weren't dispersed yet; therefore, $20.6 million is proposed to be shifted from the General Fund to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which would provide funding for future SWEEP projects.
What does that mean for those who want to apply?
- First off stay on track for getting all your paperwork done if you are still working on it. Then make sure to upload all your paperwork to your computer. This way when it does open you will be ready!
- For some of you, this will give you more time to get your quotes.
- For those of you who are eager to apply. The CDFA Block Grant Pilot program has already distributed the money to several Entities throughout the state and that money will not be retracted. Below is a link to Awarded Entities where you can see if there is one in your area. Each Entity should have free technical assistance to help you with your application. The Block Grant Pilot programs are for SWEEP & Healthy Soils Program (HSP).
The Climate Smart Agriculture CES Team has put together some details on some of the Entities that are OPEN or soon to open in trying to help some of you come up with some options. With that being said, the CDFA has asked that you don't apply for the Incentive and the Block grant. Some of these are spaced out enough that you should be able to see if you are awarded before applying for another one.
Below are some notes of some options available now or coming up.
These notes do not include all that could be available to you so please see the links above for a more complete list. We will update the Blog when more openings become available.
If you need assistance, please reach out to our team! We are happy to help.
- Author: Heather Montgomery
New Update! CDFA has opened the SWEEP application as of December 5th, 2023. SWEEP applications are open until January 26th, 2024. Funding will be announced and awarded February 2024.
What is SWEEP?
The CDFA's State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) provides financial assistance in the form of grants to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations.
Funds and timeline: Farmers and ranchers can receive up to $200,000 and have 18 months to complete their projects.
Eligible practices include, but are not limited to:
- Installation of a variable frequency drive
- Pump retrofit or replacement
- Solar panels
- Soil moisture sensors
- Electronic weather station linked to irrigation controller
- Use of evapotranspiration (ET) based irrigation scheduling
- Conversion to micro-irrigation or drip irrigation
- Conversion to low-pressure irrigation system
How to Apply:
The grant process includes a web-based application consisting of a series of questions that can be saved and returned to before submitting.
Before you apply, you will need to gather three main pieces of information:
- A pump efficiency test. For more information on how and where to get a pump test, click here.
- The last twelve months of your energy records.
- Quotes from vendors for the costs of your project components and installation.
Please note: The online application can be difficult, so we strongly encourage you reach out to your nearest UC Cooperative Extension specialist for help writing your application.
Here is the link for detailed SWEEP information:
- If you have all your paperwork ready to apply for SWEEP, there are tools under “Application Materials” to assist with the calculations you will need to complete the application.
- Your local technical assistance provider can help you navigate these tools.
- Click the Apply button on the left side of the screen to enter the application. It is recommended that you read the 2023 SWEEP Request for Grant Applications (RGA) and the 2023 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
- You will need to create an account. Make sure to write down your username and password. If you need help with your application, you will have to share it.
Other Program Application Updates:
Healthy Soils Program (HSP)
- Applications have been pushed back to open in January of 2024.
Block Grant Pilot Programs with the Colusa Indian Community Counsel
- Set for opening applications in January of 2024.
- Planning to implement them come summer of 2024.
- They will have SWEEP and HSP grants available and are specifically for Small Farms and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDFR).
More details coming soon.
- Author: Heather Montgomery
Just awarded! CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) has released a list of organizations, that have been awarded to the Healthy Soils Program (HSP) and State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) Block Grant Pilot Programs. HSP funds agricultural practices that improve soil health and sequester carbon. SWEEP funds on-farm irrigation efficiency practices that save water and energy.
The organizations awarded block grant funding will now receive the money to disburse to farmers and ranchers in their area. Each organization will be creating program requirements unique to their area. Growers can apply with these awarded organizations just like they do with the traditional solicitations directly through CDFA. They can still use free Technical Assistance expertise to apply to these organizations. The organizations that are awarded block grants, will choose which growers get awarded and then administer the grant for its entirety.
Please look for your county below.
The full list of HSP Block Grant Awardees can be found here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/healthysoils/docs/HSP_Block_Grant_2023AwardedProjects.pdf
The full list of SWEEP Block Grant Awardees can be found here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/docs/2023/2023_SWEEP_BGP_Awards_List.pdf
For example: Here's what this means for Sutter-Yuba Growers…
The Colusa Indian Community Council has been awarded the money to disburse for HSP and SWEEP practices. Growers will be able to submit applications to the Colusa Indian Community Council just like they would with CDFA's traditional incentive programs SWEEP and HSP grants. Growers can get help from a local Technical Assistance Provider to apply for these grants. Once growers have applied to the grants when they open, they will receive updates from the Colusa Indian Community Council to learn if they were awarded or not.
CDFA Incentive Grants for HSP and SWEEP
If there are no block grant awardees in your county, you can still apply directly through CDFA's traditional incentive programs for HSP and SWEEP. These grant applications are not currently open, but we expect them to be available later this Fall of 2023.
- Author: Caddie Bergren
Many growers have been asking for updates on upcoming SWEEP and Healthy Soils application rounds. Good news! CDFA has announced that both programs will be open for new applications this fall 2023. We still do not know exact dates, but CDFA did release draft grant proposals for both programs. Here are a few updates for each:
Healthy Soils 2023 will make approximately $32 million available in this round, on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Proposed (but not finalized) changes to the Healthy Soils Program include:
- The maximum award amount will increase from $100,000 to $200,000.
- The reimbursement rates will increase for some practices.
- Mulching is now a one-time practice, instead of an annual application for three years.
To view the full draft grant proposal for Healthy Soils, click here.
Proposed (but not finalized changes) include:
- Parcels that have previously received SWEEP funding are eligible to apply again.
- Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers will be prioritized with a minimum of 25% of funding.
- Strengthened ways to ensure one user does not submit multiple applications. In addition to needing separate tax ID numbers, each application will need a separate mailing address and grant contact.
- Changes to the scoring rubric to prioritize 'well-rounded' projects. (We will have more clarity on this in the final draft)
To view the full draft grant proposal for SWEEP, click here.
As always, if you are interested in applying to SWEEP, you will need to gather three things before beginning an application:
1. Recent pump efficiency test(s)
2. 12 months of energy records for each pump (electric bills and/or fuel logs)
3. Quote(s) for proposed project.
For free assistance in beginning an application or if you have further questions, please contact your local climate-smart agriculture education specialist: https://ciwr.ucanr.edu/Programs/ClimateSmartAg/TechnicalAssistanceProviders/
- Author: Caddie Bergren
Bailey joined the UCCE Santa Cruz team on July 3, 2023, and is relocating from Washington, DC to Santa Cruz. After graduating from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in political science and environmental policy, Bailey moved to Paraguay to serve as an agriculture volunteer with the Peace Corps. In Paraguay, Bailey worked closely with agricultural educators and local producers to develop education plans and lessons to engage high school students in agricultural coursework.
After returning to the United States, Bailey worked for USDA SNAP (food stamp program) where she gained experience in agriculture policy analysis and program management. Bailey is excited to get back in the field and support Santa Cruz County growers with climate smart agriculture practices and CDFA financial incentive programs. CDFA programs provide financial incentives to eligible farmers and ranchers implementing new practices that maximize water efficiency, build soil health, and improve manure management. She is ready to assist interested growers with grant applications, project planning, and implementation.
You can reach out to Bailey to learn more about climate smart agriculture practices and funding opportunities at email@example.com.