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AB-3113 Cannella Environmental Farming Act of 1995: grant program update.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/21/2020 09:00 PM
AB3113:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 3113


Introduced by Assembly Member Eggman

February 21, 2020


An act to amend Section 570 of the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to agriculture.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 3113, as introduced, Eggman. Cannella Environmental Farming Act of 1995: grant program update.
Existing law, the Cannella Environmental Farming Act of 1995, requires the Department of Food and Agriculture to establish and oversee an environmental farming program to provide incentives to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystems, air quality, and wildlife and their habitat. The act requires the Secretary of Food and Agriculture to convene the Scientific Advisory Panel on Environmental Farming, as prescribed, for the purpose of providing advice to the secretary on the implementation of the Healthy Soils Program and the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program and assistance to federal, state, and local government agencies on issues relating to the impact of agricultural practices on air, water, and wildlife habitat, as specified. The act requires the department to provide an update to the panel on or before January 31, 2021, on aspects of the grant program, as specified.
This bill would require, after January 31, 2021, that the department provide to the panel subsequent reports on aspects of the grant program, as specified, every 2 years.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 570 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:

570.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Grant program” means the technical assistance grant program established pursuant to subdivision (c).
(2) “Programs” means the Healthy Soils Program established pursuant to Section 569, alternative manure management practices programs, and the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program established by the department from moneys made available pursuant to Chapter 2 of the Statutes of 2014.
(3) “Technical assistance” means outreach, education, project planning, project design, grant application assistance, project implementation, or project reporting assistance provided to a farmer or rancher to improve their successful participation in the programs.
(4) “Technical assistance providers” means resource conservation districts, the University of California Cooperative Extension, and nonprofit organizations, with demonstrated technical expertise in designing and implementing agricultural management practices to achieve the purposes identified in subdivision (b).
(b) The secretary shall make available not less than 5 percent of the funds appropriated to the department for the programs, but not more than five million dollars ($5,000,000), to the grant program established pursuant to subdivision (c) for both of the following purposes:
(1) Providing technical assistance, pursuant to subdivision (c), to farmers and ranchers who apply for grants from the programs, prioritizing that technical assistance to farms and ranches that are 500 acres or less.
(2) Supporting annual information sharing among technical assistance providers, the department, and other relevant stakeholders for the continuous improvement of programmatic guidelines, application processes, and relevant climate change and agricultural research.
(c) The department shall establish a technical assistance grant program to provide funds to technical assistance providers to provide technical assistance to program applicants, including, but not limited to, conducting initial program outreach to farmers and ranchers, and assisting farmers and ranchers to submit grant applications under the programs to the department and with project design, development, and implementation. The grant program shall do all of the following:
(1) Establish criteria and guidelines for technical assistance providers to qualify to receive grants to provide technical assistance. The criteria and guidelines shall require technical assistance providers to demonstrate expertise in working with California farmers and ranchers on projects relevant to one or more of the purposes identified in subdivision (b). The department shall coordinate grant program guideline development and outreach with the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.
(2) Establish a process for technical assistance providers to apply to the department to receive grants to provide technical assistance. Grant applications shall include, at minimum, a work plan that identifies which of the purposes identified in subdivision (b) will be targeted by the technical assistance provider, specific activities that will be undertaken to maximize farmer and rancher program participation and project success, an estimate of the number of farmers and ranchers to be served by the technical assistance provider, and a statement of qualifications of its relevant staff and project partners.
(3) Ensure at least 25 percent of the grant program funds are used to provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, as defined in Section 512.
(4) Review grant program applications from technical assistance providers and recommend grant awardees to the secretary.
(5) Allow direct project costs and a percentage of overhead expenses, to be determined by the secretary, to be funded as part of the grant awards.
(6) Consult with the Scientific Advisory Panel on Environmental Farming on grant program design, guidelines, and outreach for the technical assistance to improve coordination and information sharing on technical assistance strategies and activities for the department’s programs.
(d) The department shall provide provide, on or before January 31, 2021, and every two years thereafter, an update on the grant program to the Scientific Advisory Panel on Environmental Farming on or before January 31, 2021, on the grant program, Farming, including grant program outcomes, ongoing technical assistance needs for the programs, and future plans for the grant program.
(e) The secretary shall award grants to technical assistance providers of no less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) annually for no more than three years, for a total grant of not more than three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) per technical assistance provider. A technical assistance provider that demonstrates on its application that the majority of the persons it provides technical assistance to are socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers shall receive priority consideration for additional grant program funding to cover translation services, the production of outreach materials, and additional outreach-related expenses.