Grant funding available to assist with on-farm water irrigation costs

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. 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. 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.

Grants that fund equipment are rare, but this program is tied to emergency drought legislation authorized by the state. CDFA has now increased the funding limit on projects from previously awarded years. Awards of up to $200,000 are now available, up from $50,000 when the program was first released in 2014. The overall funding available has also increased to $16 million, up from SWEEP’s previous grant cycle totaling $10 million.

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

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