Statewide Climate Smart Agriculture
At a time when we are faced with increasing global population, (estimated to nearly 10 billion by 2050), climate change is threatening the ability of farmers to grow food in a productive and environmentally sustainable way. Farms and ranches in the State of California are uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to the State’s high climate variability. These climate threats include increased frequency of extreme weather events, constrained water resources, new pest and disease pressures and reduced winter chill hours. These conditions exacerbate water shortages and cyclic droughts experienced in the state. In order to respond to these threats and risks, California has taken the initiative to be a leading state in the United States to embrace Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA).
What is CSA?
CSA can be broadly defined as “an approach that calls for integration of the need for adaptation and the possibility of mitigation in agricultural growth strategies to support food security." Since CSA is not a set of practices that can be universally applied, but rather an approach that involves different elements embedded in local contexts, it was very important for the state of California to explore some of the practices that can reduce the impact of climate change in the state as well as being beneficial to local farmers and ranchers. CSA relates to actions both on-farm and beyond the farm, and incorporates technologies, policies, institutions and investment. The Governor; therefore, established three Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) programs that are aimed to:
- increase farm productivity in a sustainable manner,
- support farming communities to adapt to climate change by building the resilience of agricultural livelihoods and ecosystems, and, wherever possible,
- reduce greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions.
These three programs administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) are; the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), Healthy Soils Program (HSP) and Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).