Sept. 22, 2017 – – The Governor signed two bills this week that will provide significant funding for agriculture to meet its regulatory mandates and incentivize clean farm equipment, clean food processing, manure management and on farm renewable energy opportunities.
AB 109 and AB 134, both budget trailer bills and authored by Assembly Member Ting, establish the expenditures for $1.4 billion Global Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund funding package and include the specific funding for $250 million for agriculture from that fund, with authorization for another $50 million for ag from other funding sources. The funding measure provides funding for:
* Reduce Air toxic and criteria pollutants from stationary and mobile sources
* Low-and zero-carbon transportation alternatives
* Sustainable agricultural practices
* Healthy forests and urban greening
* Short-lived climate pollutants
* Climate adaptation and resiliency
* Climate and clean energy research
The funding in these measures implements many of the statutory mandates approved by legislature and is a responsible approach to reduce GHG emissions and criteria pollutants in disadvantaged and low-income communities. The funds enable nutritious food production and value-added food processing to stay in California; and will be matched by farmers and ranchers to create an even larger GHG emission reduction opportunity. This funding will also provide huge steps forward in reducing short-lived climate pollutants by assisting dairy farmers throughout the state in their efforts to comply with SB 1383 (Chapter 395, 2016) with research and projects to reduce methane emissions and implement air pollution reduction plans. Specifically, ag and natural resource reated investments include:
* $99 million for methane reduction programs, including dairy digesters research and development and alternative manure management programs. These investments must comply with siting requirements applied to digester projects awarded in the 2016-17 fiscal year;
* $60 million for energy efficiency funding for agricultural entities, including food processors
* $50 million for agricultural diesel replacement and upgrades including almond harvesting equipment, of which $35 million is from the Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Fund and $15 million is from Air Quality Improvement Fund;
* $200 million for healthy forests and fire prevention in State Responsibility areas, of which $5 million shall be used for activities of the California Conservation Corp
* $6 million for renewable energy projects related to agriculture;
* $18 million for low income weatherization for multi-family, solar, and farm worker residential units.