California’s Commitment to Healthy Soils is Encouraging, but There is More Work to be Done
Yesterday, the California Legislature voted to approve a spending plan to send to the governor before the constitutional deadline of June 15. As part of this action, the Legislature also agreed upon a spending plan for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, or GGRF. During the 2019-20 state budgeting process, American Farmland Trust has been advocating for ambitious investments in natural and working lands and in climate smart agricultural programs.
AFT made the following funding requests:
- Increase the Healthy Soils program to $50 million
- Support $40 million for methane reduction programs, which includes the Alternative Manure Management Program or AMMP
- Support $40 million in investments for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, or SWEEP
After several days of discussions and last minute deals, the GGRF allocation for agricultural programs was reduced across the board by $100 million to accommodate new funding for a significant ongoing augmentation to the State Drinking Water Fund through GGRF and General Funds monies. The final budget proposal includes $28 million for the Healthy Soils program, $34 million for Methane Reduction, and zeros out funding for SWEEP.
While AFT is encouraged by the governor and the Legislature’s interest and commitment to Healthy Soils, more work needs to be done to secure funding commitments for critical programs like AMMP and SWEEP that work to increase California’s ability to create lasting carbon sinks on agricultural lands, and to create greater resiliency in water management on California’s farmland and ranchland.
AFT will continue to monitor the Governor’s pending actions to approve a budget by June 30.