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AB-1071 Climate change: agriculture: Agricultural Climate Adaptation Tools Program: grants.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/06/2020 09:00 PM
AB1071:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 06, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  July 27, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  January 06, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 12, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1071


Introduced by Assembly Member Limón
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia)

February 21, 2019


An act to add Part 4.8 (commencing with Section 71370) to Division 34 of the Public Resources Code, relating to climate change.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1071, as amended, Limón. Climate change: agriculture: Agricultural Climate Adaptation Tools Program: grants.
Existing law establishes the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program to be administered by the Office of Planning and Research to coordinate regional and local efforts with state climate adaptation strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change, as specified. Existing law requires the office to coordinate with appropriate entities, including state, regional, or local agencies, to establish a clearinghouse for climate adaptation information for use by state, regional, and local entities. Existing law establishes the Transformative Climate Communities Program and a regional climate collaborative program to be administered by the Strategic Growth Council to award grants and provide technical assistance, respectively, to facilitate the response of local communities to climate change.
This bill would require the Department of Food and Agriculture to administer a program for the disbursement of grants, known as the Agricultural Climate Adaptation Tools Program, as specified, to provide funding for activities that include the development of specified planning tools for adapting to climate change and developing resiliency strategies in the agricultural sector, using the best available science, as specified. The bill would require the department to conduct specified pilot projects in the central valley, central coast, and desert regions of the state, and hold trainings for technical assistance providers on how to use the specified planning tools with an emphasis on meeting the needs of small and moderately scaled farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and female farmers and ranchers. The bill would require the department to make available, upon appropriation, up to $2,000,000 to fund the grant program, as specified. The bill would not require the department to implement the program if the appropriation is not made. The bill would require the department to provide to the office the planning tools developed as part of the grant program, as well as information on any projects funded pursuant to these provisions, for possible incorporation into the clearinghouse for climate adaptation information. The bill would require the department to provide the council with regular updates on the implementation of the program.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Farms and ranches located in the state total to more than 77,000 and are uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, increased occurrences of extreme weather events, constrained water resources, new pest and disease pressures, reduced winter chilling hours, and rising sea levels.
(2) Agricultural climate change adaptation and resiliency strategies provide numerous agronomic, environmental, and public health benefits, including increased water retention in soils, groundwater recharge, energy and water savings, improved crop and forage yields, improved air and water quality, and enhanced wildlife habitat.
(3) The state and the University of California have invested significant resources in research to better understand agriculture’s unique vulnerabilities to climate change and identify strategies to adapt to climate change.
(4) To make this information useful and effective, it must be presented to farmers and ranchers by trusted sources in a way that recognizes and accounts for their management objectives, existing management practices, location, crops, available resources, knowledge, values, experiences, spoken language, culture, and other aspects of their complex business operations and surrounding social and ecological systems.
(5) Farmers and ranchers need science-based, farm-level planning tools and technical assistance from trusted providers to help them assess relevant climate risks and adaptation strategies and integrate them into their business decisionmaking and succession planning processes. These needs are especially applicable to small and moderately scaled farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and female farmers and ranchers, as these farmers and ranchers do not have equal access to technical assistance and, on average, have fewer resources at their disposal to adapt to climate change.
(6) The state has a long-established infrastructure of public and private technical assistance providers, including resource conservation districts, the University of California Cooperative Extension, nonprofit organizations, and certified crop advisers and pest control advisers, to advise farmers and ranchers on agronomic practices, resource conservation, and other agricultural management improvements.
(7) These technical assistance providers are in a position to work with farmers and ranchers to identify appropriate agricultural climate adaptation and resiliency strategies, determine the feasibility of climate adaptation and resiliency strategies, design on-farm climate adaptation and resiliency projects, and assist in project implementation. However, technical assistance providers need additional training to learn how to most effectively incorporate information about climate change risks and adaptation strategies into their work with farmers and ranchers.
(b) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to establish a program to ensure farmers and ranchers have effective farm-level, science-based climate adaptation and resiliency planning tools and trained technical assistance providers to help them assess relevant climate change risks and adopt climate adaptation strategies.

SEC. 2.

 Part 4.8 (commencing with Section 71370) is added to Division 34 of the Public Resources Code, to read:

PART 4.8. Climate Change in the Agricultural Sector

71370.
 For purposes of this part, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Council” means the Strategic Growth Council.
(b) “Department” means the Department of Food and Agriculture.
(c) “Office” means the Office of Planning and Research.
(d) “Program” means the Agricultural Climate Adaptation Tools Program.

71372.
 (a) (1) The department shall administer the program for the disbursement of grants.
(2) The program shall provide funding for all of the following:
(A) Developing planning tools for adapting to climate change in the agricultural sector that are applicable at the farm level and that use the best available science, including, but not limited to, the state’s climate assessments pursuant to Executive Order S-03-05 and the state’s climate adaptation strategy pursuant to Section 71153. The planning tools shall help farmers and ranchers do all of the following:
(i) Assess relevant climate change impacts and risks affecting their farm or ranch business, including, but not limited to, increasingly variable and extreme weather, droughts and declining water resources, increased heat impacts on employees, crops, and livestock, declining winter chill hours, sea level rise, wildfire and smoke, shifts in crops and varieties grown in the region, new and increased pest and disease pressures, and impacts to on-farm wildlife habitat. habitat, as well as the potential financial liabilities and economic damages associated with these impacts and risks.
(ii) Consider appropriate adaptation and resiliency strategies for their operations, based on an assessment of climate change impacts and risks affecting their farm or ranch business and surrounding community, including, but not limited to, crop shifting, income diversification, and soil, water, forage, and habitat management for drought, pest, wildfire, and flood resilience.
(iii) Integrate those the impacts, risks, and strategies identified in clauses (i) and (ii) into their business decisionmaking and succession planning based on their unique management objectives, existing management practices, location, crops, available resources, knowledge, values, experiences, and culture.
(B) Conducting pilot projects in the central valley, central coast, and desert regions of the state in which the grant recipients shall collaborate with local technical assistance providers, farmers, and ranchers to test and improve the new adaptation and resiliency planning tools developed pursuant to subparagraph (A).
(C) Holding trainings, upon completion of the pilot projects, for technical assistance providers on how to use the planning tools developed pursuant to subparagraph (A) and effective communication strategies for discussing climate change risks and adaptation strategies with culturally diverse farmers and ranchers.
(3) The department shall make available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, up to two million dollars ($2,000,000) to fund the program. If the appropriation is not made, the department is not required to implement this part.
(b) In developing the planning tools as part of the program, the grant recipients shall draw on available expertise and research findings from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and other qualified sources and shall consult with and involve farmers and ranchers in their development, to the extent feasible.
(c) The program guidelines and criteria shall include all of the following:
(1) The lead grant applicant shall demonstrate expertise in agricultural climate adaptation and resiliency research and extension. Eligible applicants shall include resource conservation districts, the University of California, the California State University, United States Department of Agriculture researchers, and qualified nonprofit organizations.
(2) Priority shall be given to joint applications that take a collaborative and inclusive approach that includes both of the following:
(A) Participation by farmers, ranchers, technical assistance providers, county agricultural commissioners, and agricultural industry organizations, such as commodity groups.
(B) Accounting for the unique needs of small and moderately scaled farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and female farmers and ranchers.
(3) Grants proposals shall include, at a minimum, all of the following:
(A) A description of the planning tools to be developed.
(B) A timeline, plan, and measurable outcomes for planning tool development, pilot projects, trainings, and evaluation.
(C) A statement of qualifications of the lead grant applicant.
(d) The department shall consult with the farm equity adviser, small and moderately scaled farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and female farmers and ranchers in developing the program to ensure the planning tools and trainings for technical assistance providers meet the needs of these farmers and ranchers.
(e) (1) The planning tools developed as part of the program shall be in the public domain. The department shall provide the planning tools to the office, which the office may consider for incorporation into the clearinghouse for climate adaptation information established pursuant to Section 71360. The department shall also provide information to the office on any projects funded pursuant to this part, which the office may consider for incorporation into the clearinghouse for climate adaptation information.
(2) The department shall provide regular updates on the implementation of the program to the council.
(3) The department shall provide ongoing support for regular updating of planning tools developed as part of the program to incorporate the best available science and improve user friendliness, as well as the ongoing promotion of the planning tools.