Governor’s Budget Plan Includes Funding for Ag and Water

On May 14, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom presented the May Revision of his proposed 2021-22 budget for California. The $267.8 billion budget included a week of press tours around the state leading up to the announcement of his $100 billion California Comeback Plan, the biggest economic recovery package in the state’s history.

If approved by the Legislature, the 2021-22 budget would also mark the state’s largest investment in agriculture and water in recent history.

In total, the California Comeback Plan includes $5.1 billion over four years for water resilience investments $926 million to support the agriculture industry as it addresses continued challenges while also producing food and advancing the state’s climate resilience objectives.

The Legislature has until June 15 to finalize the budget and send back to the Governor for his signature.

Water Infrastructure, Drought Response and Climate Resilience

The May revision proposes an additional $4.35 billion over multiple years, building on the $757 million in the Governor’s Budget for a total of $5.1 billion in proposed water resilience and infrastructure investments.

The water package includes, in part:

  • $300 million in 2021-22 for SGMA implementation.
  • $200 million in 2021-22 for water conveyance and capacity restoration of four major water conveyance facilities (Friant-Kern Canal, Delta-Mendota Canal, California Aqueduct San Joaquin Field Division, and the San Luis Canal).
  • $500 million in 2021-22 for multi-benefit land repurposing at a regional groundwater basin or sub-basin level.
  • $100 million in 2021-22 for CDFA’s State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
  • $7.5 million in total in 2021-22 for CDFA and the CA Natural Resources Agency to provide technical assistance, data research, and SGMA coordination support for agriculture producers.
  • $1.3 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities.

Sustainable Agriculture

The May Revise builds on the $285 million included in the Governor’s Budget and proposes an additional $641 million over two years for a total of $926 million in strategic investments to advance climate smart agriculture and improve access to nutritious, local, California-grown food.

The sustainable agriculture package includes, in part:

  • $363 million over two years for FARMER for the replacement of Tier 0, 1, and 2 tractors
  • $150 million in 2021-22 to incentivize alternatives to open agricultural burning in the San Joaquin Valley
  • $100 million in 2021-22 for CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program.
  • $30 million in 2021-22 for pollinator habituate and forage on working lands.
  • $78 million in total for programs that promote healthy, resilient and equitable food systems.
  • $54.7 million in total for programs that support economic recovery and job growth in agriculture.

Department of Pesticide Regulation

The May Revise maintains DPR’s Budget proposal to increase and transition the existing mill fee to a tiered assessment based on the product’s toxicity level. The proposal would generate an additional $40 million per year for DPR.  The May Revision also proposes $10 million to implement a statewide pesticide notification system.

California Citrus Mutual is actively engaging on this issue and has communicated our concerns directly to DPR as well as the legislature. As part of a coalition, we have presented an alternative proposal that includes a modest increase in the mill fee that would address the Department’s structural deficits and provide County Agriculture Commissioners with needed resources.

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