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Funding

FUNDING

This list has been compiled by UCCE San Diego staff to provide a list of funding opportunities on climate-smart topics for farmers, ranchers, and growers in San Diego County. Updated September 8, 2022.

CATEGORY FUNDING NAME FUNDING ADMINISTRATOR DESCRIPTION

General

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Federal Funding Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture Database UCANR SAREP This database compiled by SAREP summarizes federal programs that fund sustainable agriculture and food systems projects (adapted from the guide Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities).

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Environmental Quality Incentives Program USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers and non-industrial forest managers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement conservation practices (including soil health, nitrogen management, rangeland management, air quality compliance, and more). A wide variety of practices and programs are adminstered by EQIP, so check the website and contact an NRCS rep for your particular situation. Targeted funding is now available in response to historic drought conditions in California!

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Agricultural Conservation Easement Program USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing land easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land (cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland, private forest land, and wetlands). Eligible partners include American Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland, rangeland or grassland protection programs.

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Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans USDA Farm Service Agency Beginning farmers (those who have been farming for less than 10 years) can apply for down payment loans, family farm purchase loans, operating loans, and others to access financial assistance during the start-up years.

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Conservation Innovation Grants USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Grants are intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. The California CIGs emphasizes projects that benefit a limited geographical area: watershed-based, regional, and local projects are encouraged.

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Conservation Reserve Program USDA Farm Service Agency In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are 10-15 years in length. One of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the nation.

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Transition Incentives Program USDA Farm Service Agency Encourages landowners to sell or lease long-term to beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers willing to implement sustainable practices or transition to organic production, by providing two years of additional payments for expiring CRP-enrolled land.

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Conservation Stewardship Program USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Rewards advanced conservation systems through 5-year renewable payment contracts to farmers and ranchers to actively manage, maintain, and expand conservation practices like rotations, cover cropping, rotational grazing, and IPM on working farms.

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Farm Aid Grants for Nonprofit Organizations Farm Aid Farm Aid’s grantmaking is focused on work that enhances the viability of family farm agriculture in the United States. Grants are only issued to nonprofit organizations that serve family farmers and to individual farmers as part of emergency/disaster response (e.g., floods, fire), not to individual farmers for the commercial operation of their farms.

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Farm Loan Programs USDA Farm Service Agency A variety of loans are offered from both federal or federally-guaranteed private lenders for emergencies, owning and operating expenses, minority and women farmers, youth education, and other farm-related expenses and needs.

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Farmers.gov Farm Loan Discovery Tool USDA Farmers.gov Find a USDA Farm Loan that might be right for you by answering a few short questions. Learn about your eligibility and find application guides to help you prepare for your USDA Service Center visit with a loan officer.

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Fund-A-Farmer Grants Food Animals Concerns Trust These grants are awarded to farmers that improve farm animal welfare through seeking or holding animal welfare certifications.

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Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (para español, haga clic en "español" a la derecha) San Diego County Planning & Development Services Under the PACE Program, willing agricultural property owners are compensated for placing a perpetual easement on their property that limits future uses to agriculture. As a result, the agricultural land is preserved and the property owner receives compensation making the land’s continued use for agriculture more viable.

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Farmer/Rancher Grant Program: English / Español Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education A farmer or rancher (lead) and an agricultural professional (technical advisor) work together to develop a project that conducts both research and outreach on a sustainable agriculture topic. $25,000 limit ($29,900 limit with three or more producers)/one to two years in scope.

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Professional Development Grant Program Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education This grant program focuses on training agricultural professionals to help them spread knowledge about sustainable agriculture concepts and practices. Ag professionals are eligible to apply. $100,000 limit/one-three years in scope.

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Conservation Loan Program USDA Farm Service Agency Offers federal guarantees on private loans to help farmers and ranchers implement qualified conservation practices on their farm, with a priority for beginning farmers.

Soil

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CDFA Healthy Soils Incentives Program CA Department of Food & Agriculture The HSP Incentives Program provides financial assistance for implementation of practices that improve soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. HSP also offers a Demonstration Program to fund and showcase ranchers' and growers' implementation of HSP practices, which accelerates their adoption through farmer-to-farmer education.

Soil

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Alternative Manure Management Program CA Department of Food & Agriculture Provides financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester manure management practices in California, which will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Soil

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Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program CalRecycle This program provides up to $1 million annually in grants for the cleanup of illegal solid waste sites on farm or ranch property. A site may be eligible for funding if the parcel(s) is(are) zoned for agricultural use, where unauthorized solid waste disposal has occurred, and where the site(s) is(are) in need of cleanup in order to abate a nuisance or public health and safety threat and/or a threat to the environment.

Soil

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National Organic Initiative USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Provides technical and financial assistance in creating a conservation practices plan for organic farmers and ranchers and those interested in transitioning to organic. Up to $140,000 over 5 years

Soil

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Organic Certification Cost Share Program USDA Farm Service Agency Provides cost share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining or renewing their certification under the National Organic Program (NOP). Certified operations may receive up to 75 percent of their certification costs paid during the program year, not to exceed $750 per certification scope.

Soil

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Research Grants Program Organic Farming Research Foundation Offers funding for research on organic production systems and communication of research results to ag communities. Research proposals must meaningfully involve farmers in project design and implementation and take place on certified organic land. Maximum grant of $20,000 per project.

Soil

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Zero Food Print Restore California Grants Zero Food Print ZFP provides crowd-funded grants to help farmers switch to renewable farming practices that sequester soil carbon. Design your own sequestration project with the help of your local RCD and name your price. (Currently closed, but will reopen.)

Soil

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Zero Food Print Compost Connector Zero Food Print

After CA's State Bill 1383 rapidly increasing compost availability, this program aims to connect composting facilities with farms and ranches to put each region's compost to best use sequestering carbon. Rolling applications.

Water

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Integrated Regional Water Management Grant Programs CA Department of Water Resources IRWM grants fund planning, implementation, and disadvantaged community involvement of regionally-targeted water management programs.

Water

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Nonpoint Source Pollutions Control Program California Water Boards Funds can be used to implement projects or programs that will help to reduce nonpoint source pollution. Projects that qualify for funding must be conducted within the state's nonpoint source pollution priority watersheds. Project proposals that address Total Maximum Daily Load implementation and those that address problems in impaired waters are favored in the selection process.

Water

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Regional Conservation Partnership Program USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service This program provides an opportunity to work together with NRCS to implement on-the-ground conservation activities on a local scale, like land management/improvement/restoration, purchasing entity-held easements, reducing field runoff and nutrient loss, habitat improvement, and many more.

Water

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State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program CA Department of Food & Agriculture This program provides financial assistance in the form of grants to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations. Eligible system components include (among others) soil moisture monitoring, drip systems, switching to low pressure irrigation systems, pump retrofits, variable frequency drives and installation of renewable energy to reduce on-farm water use and energy.

Water

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California Water Conservation Fund Program USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service There are ten regional EQIP water conservation fund pools in California. The conservation goals and priorities for these fund pools are to promote improved irrigation efficiency and to protect ground and surface water quality.

Water

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Irrigation System Evaluation (free), Soil Moisture Sensor System Cost-Share, and Ag Irrigation Efficiency Program San Diego County Water Authority and Mission Resource Conservation District Agricultural producers in San Diego County can receive up to $550 per acre or $5,000 per property to help cover the cost of irrigation upgrades recommended in a free irrigation evaluation. The program uses onsite evaluations, recommendations for efficiency improvements, and incentives and rebates to fund efficiency upgrades that help San Diego farms achieve water and cost savings.

Water

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Waterscape Rebate Program County of San Diego Department of Public Works

The Waterscape Rebate Program focuses on the installation of landscaping and water-wise features, which help you save water, save money, and beautify your home and garden. Rebates are available for residents, businesses and agricultural producers living in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.

Water

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WaterSmartSD San Diego County Water Authority

WaterSmartSD provides rebates for water-wise home landscaping, financial incentives for landscaping contractors, free on-site irrigation system evaluations for agriculture, cost-sharing and rebates for irrigation system improvements and soil moisture sensors, and more.

Energy

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SDG&E Streamlined Ag Efficiency Program Cascade Energy (contracted by San Diego Gas & Electric) This program helps growers take advantage of available incentives and rebates for energy-efficient improvements, including greenhouse cooling and heating, ag refrigeration, irrigation pump efficiency, and more. You can receive cash incentives and rebates for more efficient equipment.

Energy

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Clean Air for All Grant Program San Diego County Air Pollution Control District Encourages businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies to swap their polluting heavy machinery and equipment for electric and low carbon emission alternatives. Funded by a variety of funding sources. (New grant period opening soon!)

Energy

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Voucher Incentive Program San Diego County Air Pollution Control District A streamlined voucher program to quickly scrap and replace older heavy-duty diesel vehicles (2009 or older model year diesel engines) with a replacement heavy-duty vehicle (2013 or newer engine). Vouchers for eligible truck replacement projects range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Energy

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National On-Farm Energy Initiative USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Financial assistance is available to inventory and analyze farm systems that use energy, identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency, and fund purchase, retrofit, or installation of energy-efficient equipment.

Energy

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Value-Added Producer Grant USDA Rural Development Helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new biofuel and renewable-energy products, with priority given to beginning farmers, small and medium-sized farms, and family farms and ranches. The goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income.

Energy

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Rural Development Energy Programs USDA Rural Development This group of several programs offers funding to complete energy audits, provide renewable energy development assistance, make energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems. Apply for grants and loans to help convert older heating sources to cleaner technologies, produce advanced biofuels, install solar panels, build biorefineries, and much more.

Energy

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Healthy Refrigeration Grant Program CDFA Office of Farm to Fork Grants available to fund energy efficient refrigeration units in corner stores, small businesses, and food donation programs in low-income or low-access areas throughout the state to stock California-grown fresh produce, nuts, dairy, meat, eggs, minimally processed, and culturally appropriate foods.

Energy

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Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) (para español, haga clic en "español" a la derecha) San Diego County Planning & Development Services As authorized under California law, the County of San Diego currently participates in five different programs that allow for the financing of energy efficient projects, water efficiency projects and renewable energy upgrades that can be repaid through annual property tax bills. If you are interested in these programs, please contact any of the listed providers for more information. (For more energy-related resources provided by the County, click here.)

Energy

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Guide to the Federal Investment Tax Credit for Commercial Solar Photovoltaics US Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy The solar investment tax credit (ITC) is a tax credit that can be claimed on federal corporate income taxes for 30% of the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system that is placed in service during the tax year. Learn more about qualifying factors and how to receive tax credits for installing a PV system on your property.

Energy

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SDG&E Net Energy Metering Program San Diego Gas & Electric NEM allows utility customers to connect renewable energy projects to the grid and get credit on their energy bills for the energy they produce.

Energy

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Net Energy Metering Aggregation Program (CalCAN info) CA Public Utilities Commission This program allows renewable energy produced on one meter to be credited against electricity use on other meters of the same customer, allowing growers to offset their energy usage without connecting a separate meter to each solar array.

Energy

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Food Production Investment Program CA Energy Commission

The food processing industry is one of the largest energy users in California. It is also a large producer of GHG emissions. The Food Production Investment Program will help producers replace high-energy-consuming equipment and systems with market-ready and advanced technologies and equipment. The program will also accelerate the adoption of state-of-the-art energy technologies that can substantially reduce energy use and costs and associated GHG emissions.

Climate

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Air Grants and Funding EPA Office of Air and Radiation Funding announcements for projects and programs relating to air quality, transportation, climate change, indoor air and other related topics are found here.

Climate

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Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program CA Department of Conservation SALC uses cap-and-trade dollars to fund agricultural land conservation through easements, strategy plans, and other projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Fire & Extreme Weather

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CA Climate Investments Fire Prevention Grants Program (para español, haga clic en "Translate" a la derecha) CAL FIRE CAL FIRE aims to reduce the risk of wildland fires to habitable structures and communities, while maximizing carbon sequestration in healthy wildland habitat and minimizing the uncontrolled release of emissions emitted by wildfires. The three qualifying projects and activities include those related to hazardous fuel reduction and removal of dead, dying, or diseased trees, fire prevention planning, and fire prevention education. Discuss the best grant for you with a CAL FIRE Forestry Assistance Specialist.

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CA Forest Improvement Program (para español, haga clic en "Translate" a la derecha) CAL FIRE This focus of CFIP is to ensure adequate high quality timber supplies, related employment and other economic benefits, and the protection, maintenance, and enhancement of a productive and stable forest resource system for the benefit of present and future generations. Cost-share assistance is provided to private and public ownerships containing 20 to 5,000 acres of forest land. Program deadline is funded anew every two months, beginning December 2021. Discuss the best grant for you with a CAL FIRE Forestry Assistance Specialist.

Fire & Extreme Weather

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Vegetation Management Program (para español, haga clic en "Translate" a la derecha) CAL FIRE The Vegetation Management Program (VMP) is a cost-sharing program (performed by CAL FIRE at no cost, not a grant) that focuses on the use of prescribed fire, and some mechanical means, for addressing wildland fire fuel hazards and other resource management issues on State Responsibility Area (SRA) lands. The program allows private landowners to enter into a contract with CAL FIRE to use prescribed fire to accomplish a combination of fire protection and resource management goals. When approved as a VMP project, CAL FIRE assumes the liability for conducting the prescribed burn.

Fire & Extreme Weather

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CA Family Farmer Emergency Fund (para español, haga clic "Spanish" en la esquina superior izquierda) Community Alliance with Family Farmers The California Family Farmer Emergency Fund offers direct financial support to small-scale farmers impacted by disaster (COVID-19, wildfire, and drought-related crop loss) with the aim of helping them weather the storm. 50% of all disbursed funds are earmarked specifically for farmers of color, immigrant, and undocumented farmers.