CDFA SWEEP Grant Program Released for 2023

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released the Request for Grant Applications (RGA) for the eagerly awaited State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) 2023. This program holds the promise of transforming California agriculture’s water usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Let's dive into the key details and opportunities for the upcoming SWEEP Grant:

What is the purpose of SWEEP?

In response to the critical need for sustainable water management, SWEEP is calling on California's agricultural operations to invest in innovative irrigation systems. This competitive grant application process, fueled by California's General Fund, aims to award approximately $21 million to operations committed to eco-friendly irrigation.

What funding is available and when?

The SWEEP Grant anticipates offering a maximum award of $200,000. Recipients must complete projects no later than 18 months after the start of the grant agreement. The anticipated start date is June 15, 2024.

Are there any exclusions?

The invitation is open to California farmers, ranchers, and Federal and California recognized Native American Indian Tribes. Notably, the SWEEP project must be on a California agricultural operation, with exclusions for medical and recreational cannabis crops. Universities, research institutions, and state governmental organizations are not eligible for funding.

Priority Funding?

There is funding set aside for for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDFRs): Aligned with the 2017 Farmer Equity Act, CDFA earmarks 25% of the funds for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Eligible groups include African Americans, Native Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

New this year

SWEEP has been around for nearly 10 years! Therefore, CDFA is allowing applications that build upon previous SWEEP funded projects. An agricultural operation or individual who has received a cumulative total of $600,000 in SWEEP funding is ineligible for this year’s funding.

What projects are eligible?

CDFA has meticulously identified project types addressing both water conservation and GHG emission reductions. Here's what applicants should consider:

Water Savings:

  1. Tools for Irrigation Scheduling:
    • Examples include soil moisture or plant sensors, weather stations linked to irrigation controllers, and evapotranspiration-based scheduling. (USDA NRCS Conservation Practice Standard (CPS) 449 may apply)
  2. Irrigation System Changes:
    • Examples involve the conversion to more water-efficient irrigation methods, following USDA NRCS CPS 441, 442, 443 specifications.

GHG Emission Reductions:

  1. Fuel Conversion:
    • Examples include pump fuel conversion and the installation of renewable energy systems powering irrigation.
  2. Improved Energy Efficiency and Low-Pressure Systems:
    • Retrofitting or replacing pumps, adding variable frequency drives, and converting high-pressure sprinkler systems to low-pressure systems.
  3. Reduced Pumping and Nitrous Oxide Emissions:
    • Strategies involve improved irrigation scheduling, leading to reduced pump operation times and decreased nitrous oxide emissions.

Other Management Practices: CDFA supports innovative projects beyond the identified strategies, as long as they contribute to estimated water savings and reduced greenhouse gases using SWEEP quantification tools.

Projects not eligible for SWEEP funding: converting new acreage to farmland, installing new groundwater wells or increasing well depth, testing new technology or performing research.

What costs are covered?

Project costs must be itemized and clearly support the installation or improvement of irrigation systems. Allowable costs include supplies, equipment, labor, and any other necessary cost for project implementation. Think photovoltaic panels powering irrigation systems, components of irrigation systems, sensor hardware, telemetry, software, flow meters, and permits.

Cost share?

Good news—cost share is optional. SWEEP is designed to offer flexibility and support for the agricultural community.

What is the timeline for this opportunity?

The current deadline for application is January 19th, 2024, with awarding announced in February 2024.

For an in-depth exploration of the 2023 SWEEP Request for Grant Applicants (RGA), dive into the [full document]

For guidance on how to navigate this exciting grant opportunity, contact the Morrison Grants Team via email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.

Questions?

We’ve worked with a wide variety of clients on a broad range of projects and are happy to discuss solutions that can best fit your needs.

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