California Department of Food and Agriculture will reopen the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) towards the end of 2019. The SWEEP program provides up to $100,000 for practices that increase water use efficiency and reduce energy use in water management. Practices that are eligible include pump retrofits, installation of variable frequency drives, converting a pump to run on solar, or changing irrigation systems to a more efficient application. While there is no set date for SWEEP to reopen, now is the time to get your project and application materials together.
Stay tuned for more information and date announcement! In the meantime, you can:
- Go to SWEEP website: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/
- Review the most recent Request for Grant Applications: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/docs/2018_SWEEP_RGA.pdf
- Create a project design and list the practices you want to implement
- View the list of 2018 recipients and project descriptions: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/docs/2018-SWEEP_ProjectsSelected-for-Award.pdf
- Get quotes for items needed for the project, itemized and with labor included
- Get a pump efficiency test for all the pumps that will be affected by the project
- Get 12 months of energy use data for pumps (e.g. energy bills or fuel receipts)
To get your wheels turning, check out these examples of recently awarded projects:
Santa Cruz: This project will install a solar photovoltaic system to power the farm's groundwater pump, switching from fossil fuel based electricity to a renewable energy source. It will also install a variable frequency drive (VFD) at the well pump to improve energy use efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from groundwater pumping. Finally, through this project the farming operation will acquire a flowmeter and five soil moisture sensors to improve irrigation scheduling and water conservation.
Sutter: This project plans to transition from farming 80 acres of rice with a flood irrigation system to farming 80 acres of almonds with a micro sprinkler irrigation system. Also, the old pump will be replaced with a 75 HP pump and moisture sensors will be utilized to help manage water usage.
Riverside: The project proposes to install soil moisture sensors, cloud based data collection, a flow meter, weather station, and automatic shut off valves to increase water savings. To reduce greenhouse gas emission the project proposes to install a solar system to power well pumps.
Introducing your new information source for CDFA grants,
Kern County and Ventura County
Shulamit Shroder and Alli Rowe are two of the newest members to UC Cooperative Extension. Shulamit is based out of Kern County and serves Kern, Tulare, and King Counties. Alli is based out of and serves Ventura County. Both specialize in the climate smart agriculture initiatives from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. They provide technical assistance for the SWEEP, AMMP, and Healthy Soils grant programs.
- The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) encourages farmers to install more efficient irrigation systems that decrease their water consumption as well as their greenhouse gas emissions. You can apply for a SWEEP grant for up to $100,000.
- The Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) awards funds - up to $750,000 - to livestock producers who decrease their methane emissions by changing the way that they manage manure.
- The Healthy Soils Program incentivizes the implementation of conservation agriculture techniques that decrease erosion and greenhouse gas emissions, like cover cropping, compost, crop rotation, and mulching. For this grant, there is $75,000 available per project.
Keep an eye out for future announcements about grant deadlines - they have all passed but should reopen within the next year, pending further funding.
For more information about these programs and for help applying for these grants, please contact Shulamit or Alli at:
Shulamit Shroder: firstname.lastname@example.org or 661-868-6218
Alli Rowe: email@example.com or 805-645-1464
Spotlight on SWEEP in Citrus
Shulamit Shroder, UCCE climate smart agriculture specialist - Kern County
In 2014, Bruce Kelsey in Kern County received a grant through the California Department of Food and Agriculture's State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). He used the funds to set up 8-foot-wide plastic weed mats underneath his mature organic citrus trees. He also decreased his electrical consumption by about 30% and installed soil moisture sensors, a water flow meter, and a pressure-sustaining device.
Labor: The installation of the weed mat was a labor-intensive process, but it ended up paying off in the long term. It diminished weed populations so that he no longer has to weed under his citrus trees. Now he only mows with a small mower in the lanes between his trees.
Water usage: His overall water usage decreased by about 10%. The weed mat decreased evaporation and weed pressure while the other devices allowed him to better manage and schedule his irrigation.
Pests: Bruce experienced an increase in earwigs in the weed mat orchard. The plastic covering provided the perfect humid environment for the insects.
Organic certification: The weed mats will eventually start to disintegrate, which could contaminate his soil. To maintain his organic certification, he will have to rip them up once they start to break down. Smaller, younger trees do not protect the plastic from the sun, which quickly destroys the plastic. For this reason, he recommended against using weed mat in immature orchards.
Figure 1. Weed mat in place.
The number of trees in Southern California confirmed to be infected with HLB has risen to 347, distributed across 16 communities in four counties. So far, all are in residential plantings, not in commercial groves. As HLB detections increase and spread closer to commercial citrus, it is a good time to consider removing citrus trees that are uncared for or not worth the resources required to protect them from ACP and HLB. The distribution of HLB confirmations, updated weekly, can be found on https://citrusinsider.org/maps/.
Winter ACP area-wide cycle
As a reminder, due to the Thomas Fire the treatment window for psyllid management areas in West Ventura and the Ojai Valley (PMAs 44-50) was delayed until Feb. 23-March 16. If you wish to confirm your treatment window or interim treatment percentages, or obtain referrals for pest-control or tree-removal services, please contact your grower liaisons, Sandra Zwaal and Cressida Silvers. Low- or no-cost tree removal assistance can also be obtained through California Citrus Mutual's Citrus Matters ACT NOW program. More information can be found at https://citrusmatters.cropscience.bayer.us/commercial-grower/act-program.
HLB in the news
ABC7 news and The San Bernardino Sun recently picked up a story regarding a San Bernardino County nursery caught up in the HLB quarantine, which led to destruction of its inventory of citrus trees.
ABC News7 article with clip: http://abc7.com/food/ie-nurserys-citrus-trees-to-be-destroyed-by-ca-agriculture-department/2959173/
UC Riverside & Citrus Research Board Citrus Day for the Industry will be on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at UC Riverside. The deadline to register is Jan. 30. Registration is $35 and includes lunch. Online registration is available at https://form.jotform.com/80016278039152. Click here to download the program.
The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee's operations and outreach subcommittees will meet Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside. Attendance is free. The CDFA website with agenda, venue, and webinar information is at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/citruscommittee/.
If you have any questions, please contact one of the grower liaisons:
SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $215,670 for five projects that will promote and administer agricultural education and leadership programs for students, teachers and youth under the 2014 California Special Interest License Plate (CalAgPlate) grant program. The CalAgPlate program is funded with proceeds generated through the sale of specialized, agriculture-themed license plates through the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). CalAgPlates were first made available in 2012, and over 19,000 plates have been sold to date.
Projects funded as part of the program's inaugural year include a farm-to-school program linking students to local farmers; an agricultural industry tour that will increase student awareness of career opportunities within farming and agribusiness; a hands-on seminar for teachers to help broaden curricular exposure of students to agriculture; a program to educate elementary school students on the role of agriculture in our daily lives; and a program that provides opportunities for high school students to engage in agricultural education, leadership development and career training.
“Agricultural education is fundamental to the appreciation of how agriculture and food production touches every Californian,” said Secretary Karen Ross. “The projects being funded are great examples of how to connect students and consumers to agriculture and the many career possibilities within the food and agricultural system.”
The CalAgPlate program is made possible through the hard work of many people and organizations that helped to promote the sale of this specialized license plate. Special thanks are given to the Future Farmers of America (FFA), the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class XXXI), and to the many student volunteers who represent California agriculture.
The 2014 CalAgPlate project abstracts are available online at www.cdfa.ca.gov/calagplate.
Help to support agricultural education and the CalAgPlate program by purchasing a special interest license plate at your local DMV office or online today.
—California Department of Agriculture