Grant funding available for on-farm equipment to reduce water use—applications due August 5

The California Department of Agriculture is funding a grant program that will provide up to $200,000 in funding for new or improved water irrigation and distribution equipment on agricultural operations. A 50 percent cost match is encouraged. Grant applications are due August 5, 2016 by 5 p.m.

The full request for proposals is available here.

If you have any plans for irrigation equipment updates or additions in the near future, it may be advantageous to accelerate those to be able to compete for this funding opportunity. This program was funded by emergency drought legislation and has recently been a recurring grant opportunity, but is less likely to be issued once the drought improves.

Funding through the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) can be used to purchase new pumps, irrigation equipment, convert irrigation systems to more efficient systems, and similar projects. Eligible costs include:

· Installation of photovoltaic panels to power irrigation systems

· All components of micro-irrigation irrigation systems

· Sensor hardware and telemetry

· Software associated with sensors and weather stations

· Flow meters

All projects must prove a reduction of water use and greenhouse gas emissions. Installation must be on a California agricultural operation, which is defined as including a row vineyard, field and tree crops, commercial nurseries, nursery stock production, and greenhouse operations. All agricultural operations that fit within this definition are eligible, though only one application per tax id number can be submitted.

Project costs cannot be incurred before December 1, 2016 or after November 30, 2017. The awards are expected to be announced November 2016.

Grants that fund equipment are rare, but this program is tied to emergency drought legislation authorized by the state.

This grant does require a number of supporting documents, including a project design for the proposed irrigation system and water and energy use documentation. This can take time and would need to be submitted with the proposal by August 5.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison's assistance, please contact Toni Scott, 530-893-4764, ext. 205.

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