State funding to retire valley farmland could more than double under Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget

From SJV Water:

A state program aimed at retiring and repurposing farmland could get $60 million – more than doubling its current funding – under Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget.

The Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program was created with $50 million from the 2021 state budget. The program helps pay for farmland to be taken out of production and repurposed to less water intensive uses.

Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have pumped groundwater for crops without limits for generations. But groundwater levels are plummeting causing domestic and community wells to dry up and land to sink which has damaged roads, bridges and key regional and statewide canals.

Click here to continue reading at SJV Water.


    • Millions in State Grants Awarded to Support Regional Responses to Challenging Water Supplies:  The California Department of Conservation today announced the award of more than $40 million to regional organizations working to reduce groundwater reliance and create local environmental and economic opportunities through land-use changes. These organizations, which operate in five important agricultural counties, are the first recipients of funding from the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program​, part of Governor Newsom’s multi-faceted response to the ongoing drought.  Click here to read more from the Department of Conservation.
    • Self-Help Enterprises and EDF Partner to Support California Department of Conservation in Coordination and Peer Learning for Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program:  Self-Help Enterprises and Environmental Defense Fund have been selected by the California Department of Conservation to coordinate technical assistance and outreach for the state’s new Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program.  Click here to read more from the EDF.
    • Maximizing Benefits of Solar Development in the San Joaquin Valley: The implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) over the next two decades may require taking at least 500,000 acres of cropland in the San Joaquin Valley out of irrigated production (about 10%). To soften the blow on jobs and economic activity, it will be important to identify alternative land uses that generate income. Solar development is one of the most promising options.  Click here to read more from the PPIC.
    • Office Hours: Repurposing farmland that will be fallowed as part of SGMA:  On March 29, our guests were Anna Schiller, Project Manager with the Environmental Defense Fund, and Vicky Espinoza, UC Merced PhD Candidate and YouTube channel CaliWaterAg. They provided an overview of a new program from the Department of Conservation that provides funding to help land repurposing projects be implemented, and discussed the new guidance document, Community and Grower Engagement in Multibenefit Land Repurposing.  Click here to watch the webinar.

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