SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 2377, authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last week. This bill funds technical assistance for farmers and ranchers seeking to transition to Climate Smart Agriculture.
“As California continues to lead the way in climate change, it’s imperative that we assist all industries so that they adopt practices that will help achieve our climate goals,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “I’m grateful that the governor saw the need to improve these programs as a vital piece of hitting our climate objectives.”
California is the nation’s leader in food production and contributes significantly to our global food security and state economy. California has over 77,000 farms and ranches which are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. California’s Climate Smart Agriculture programs provide important financial resources to encourage farmers and ranchers to adopt farm management practices that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestering to help meet the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
The bill requires that 5 percent of the annual budgets for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), and the Healthy Soils programs to establish a technical assistance grant program of up to $100,000 dollars annually for up to three years. The bill prioritizes technical assistance for small and moderately-scaled farms and ranches and requires at least 25 percent of the technical assistance funds available to be provided to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
"With the signing of AB 2377, California is once again demonstrating leadership in making Climate Smart Agriculture practical and feasible for farmers and ranchers throughout the state," said Jeanne Merrill, Policy Director with the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN).
The bill passed through the Senate 39-0 and the Assembly 79-0 earlier this year.
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin represents California’s 44th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Camarillo, Casa Conejo, Channel Islands Beach, El Rio, Lak e Sherwood, Moorpark, Oak Park, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Rosa Valley, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.