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AB-409 Climate change: agriculture: grant program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/07/2019 09:00 PM
AB409:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 409


Introduced by Assembly Member Limón

February 07, 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 409, as introduced, Limón. Climate change: agriculture: grant program.
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.
This bill would require the Director of State Planning and Research to establish and administer a competitive grant program, as specified, that includes specified planning tools for adapting to climate change in the agricultural sector, specified pilot projects in 3 regions of the state, and trainings for technical assistance providers on how to use the specified planning tools. The bill would require the director, no later than June 30, 2020, to make available, upon appropriation, up to $2,000,000 to fund the grant program, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 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.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The state’s 77,000 farms and ranches 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 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 who do not have equal access to technical assistance and, on average, have less 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 advisors 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 strategies, determine the feasibility of climate adaptation strategies, design on-farm climate adaptation projects, and assist in project implementation. But 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.
(8) The Office of Planning and Research, pursuant to existing law, serves as a coordinating body for climate adaptation projects across the state and assists state, regional, and local agencies in a variety of research and planning efforts related to climate adaptation. The Office of Planning and Research also maintains the state’s clearinghouse for climate adaptation information on various topics, including agriculture, through its Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (Part 4.5 (commencing with Section 71350)). Therefore, the Office of Planning and Research is well-positioned to administer a complimentary grant program established pursuant to this part and promote the resulting farm-level climate adaptation planning tools through its existing clearinghouse.
(b) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to establish a program to ensure farmers and ranchers have effective farm-level, science-based climate adaptation planning tools and trained technical assistance providers to help them assess relevant climate change risks and adopt climate adaptation strategies.

71372.
 For purposes of this part, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Department” means the Department of Food and Agriculture.
(b) “Director” means the Director of State Planning and Research.
(c) “Office” means the Office of Planning and Research.

71374.
 (a) (1) The director shall establish and administer a competitive grant program that includes all of the following:
(A) Planning tools for adapting to climate change in the agricultural sector that are science based and applicable at the farm level. 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, wildfire and smoke, shifts in crops and varieties grown in the region, and new and increased pest and disease pressures.
(ii) Consider appropriate adaptation strategies for their operations, based on an assessment of climate change impacts and risks affecting their farm or ranch business, including, but not limited to, soil, water, forage, and habitat management for drought, pest, wildfire and flood resilience, crop shifting, and income diversification.
(iii) Integrate those impacts, risks, and strategies 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) Pilot projects in three 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 planning tools developed pursuant to subparagraph (A).
(C) 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.
(2) No later than June 30, 2020, the director shall make available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, up to two million dollars ($2,000,000) to fund the grant program established pursuant to this part.
(b) In developing the planning tools as part of the grant 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) When developing and adopting the grant program guidelines and criteria, the director shall include all of the following:
(1) The lead grant applicant shall demonstrate expertise in agricultural climate adaptation research and extension. Eligible applicants shall include resource conservation districts, the University of California Cooperative Extension, 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, and agricultural industry organizations, such as commodity groups.
(B) Accounts 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 director shall consult with the farm equity advisor in the department in developing the grant program and ensuring the planning tools and trainings for technical assistance providers meet the needs of small and moderately scaled farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and female farmers and ranchers.
(e) (1) The planning tools developed as part of the grant program shall be in the public domain and incorporated into the clearinghouse for climate adaptation, as defined in Section 71360.
(2) The director shall provide ongoing support for regularly updating of planning tools developed as part of the grant program to incorporate the best available science and improve user friendliness, as well as the ongoing promotion of the planning tools.