Courtesy of the CDFA News 

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, Meat, Poultry and Egg Safety Branch (MPES) announces one vacancy for one public member on the Egg Safety and Quality Management’s (ESQM), Shell Egg Advisory Committee Board (SEAC).

ESQM monitors egg quality at production, wholesale, and retail levels. The goal is to provide California consumers with eggs that are wholesome, properly labeled, refrigerated, and of established quality, while maintaining fair and equitable marketing standards in the California egg industry.

This vacancy is due to an upcoming term expiration. The membership term for this vacancy will be for 36 months. Applicants should not be a registered egg handler or a representative of a registered egg handler.

Board members receive no compensation but are entitled to reimbursement for transportation to and from meetings and for per diem expenses for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses.

Applicants interested in being considered for this SEAC appointment, should submit resumesby August 21, 2024, to:

Mrs. Penny Arana
Meat,Poultry and Egg Safety Branch

1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814

Additional information is available on the Egg Safety and Quality Management program’s web page at You may also contact Michael E. Abbott, Egg Quality Manager at (916) 628-1721


Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs

California Department of Food and Agriculture


2024-05-07T08:03:57-07:00May 7th, 2024|

CDFA Accepting Applications For 2023-24 CA Farm To School Grant Program

Courtesy of the CDFA News

The California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F) is accepting applications for the 2023-24 California Farm to School Incubator Grant Program, until 5 p.m. PDT April 4, 2024.

The program will award competitive grants to support projects that cultivate equity, nurture students, build climate resilience, and create scalable and sustainable change.

To support a systems approach to advancing farm to school throughout the state, the program offers four funding tracks:
• Track 1: The California Farm to School TK-12 Procurement and Education Grant
• Track 2: The California Farm to School Technical Assistance (TA) Grant
• Track 3: The California Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) Grant
• Track 4: The California Farm to School Producer Grant

Visit the California Farm to School Incubator Grant Program webpage to view the formal request for applications, access the online portal through which applications must be submitted, and register for informational webinars.

The California Budget Acts of 2021 and 2022 made appropriations for the 2023-24 California Farm to School Incubator Grant Program. CDFA will make a total of up-to $52.8 million available via the four funding tracks outlined above. The amount of funds awarded in each funding track will depend on the number of competitive applications received in each funding track.

For assistance and questions related to the Farm to School Incubator Grant Program process, please email

2024-02-14T07:45:19-08:00February 14th, 2024|

CDFA Announces Grant Funding for Healthy Soils Program

Courtesy of the CDFA

CDFA is pleased to announce the availability of approximately $12 million in grant funding for Healthy Soils Program Incentive Grants. The objectives of the program are to increase statewide implementation of conservation management practices that improve soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases.

California farmers, ranchers, business entities, California Native American tribes, and non-profit organizations can apply for awards. Applicants may request up to $100,000 per project. Priority will be given to applicants who are considered Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers.

The program is currently accepting grant applications and will continue to do so until 5 p.m. PST, Friday, February 9, 2024.

“The Healthy Soils Program was developed to partner with farmers and ranchers and facilitate their preferred methods to draw down carbon onto their lands and store it in our soils,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Building up soil’s organic matter and biodiversity promotes its lasting health and productivity, while also reducing the possibility for erosion. With tremendous thanks to our Governor and the California Legislature for their ongoing support, the Healthy Soils Program has awarded more than $105 million to fund more than 1,500 projects over its lifetime, resulting in a combined greenhouse gas reduction of more than 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the projects’ lifespans. That’s like removing 24,000 gas-powered cars from the road for 10 years.”

CDFA will hold two online workshops to provide information about the application process. Participants register for the webinars using the links below. Each workshop will cover the same content, and for those unable to attend, a PowerPoint presentation along with other relevant materials will be posted on the Healthy Soils Program Incentive Grants webpage:

Free technical assistance (TA) is available to applicants. TA providers’ contact information, and other details, can be found at: and

Available TA Providers include providers from the University of California Cooperative Extension Community Education Specialists (UCCS CESs), through their Climate Smart Agriculture Program.

“Through our strong relationships with diverse farming communities, our team supports the implementation of practices that build soil health, use water more efficiently, and provide an alternative for manure management,” said Amber Butland, a TA Provider who works through the CES group. “We strive to provide the best assistance possible by offering translation services, grant application support, computer access, and one-on-one farm visits.”

The Healthy Soils Program stems from the California Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of state agencies and departments that promotes the development of healthy soils on California’s farmlands and ranchlands.

For information on eligibility and program requirements, prospective applicants should visit the HSP Incentive Grants website at

2024-01-22T10:27:11-08:00January 22nd, 2024|

Farm Bureau President Urges Support to Sustain Farming

Courtesy of Peter Hecht

The leader of California’s largest agricultural organization today called on lawmakers to work to sustain agriculture well into the future by securing water supplies and rejecting policies that merely ask farmers and ranchers to be resilient in the face of unaddressed challenges.

Speaking before the 105th Annual Meeting of the California Farm Bureau in Reno, Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson outlined “extraordinary events that have put all of California farmers and ranchers at risk.”

He noted the impacts of a three-year drought that resulted in the fallowing of more than 1.2 million acres of productive farmland. That was followed in 2023 by atmospheric river storms and destructive floods that caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to California farmland and crops.

Johansson took issue with California’s failure to complete long-planned water infrastructure projects that could have stored water for dry years and enhanced flood control in wet ones.

“While our members struggled, we faced administrations in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento who found it easy to blame it all on climate change,” said Johansson. He took political leaders to task for simply declaring that “agriculture would have to do less to meet climate goals.”

Johansson said farmers and ranchers need supportive policies rooted in science, not politics. He said Farm Bureau remains committed to “defending the use of science on our farms, our waterways…and saving the next generation of farmers and ranchers.”

“I truly believe it must be Farm Bureau and our membership who leads the fight.”

But Johansson cited some notable victories for California agriculture in 2023. That included advocacy that led Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign an executive order that rolled back unnecessary permitting requirements and bureaucratic red tape to allow farmers to divert floodwaters to recharge depleted groundwater aquifers.

“For 13 years, California Farm Bureau and some of our partners have been pushing the (California) State Water Resources Control Board to allow our farmers to use their land to recharge aquifers,” Johansson said. “This year, our efforts finally produced results.”

Johansson applauded actions by the governor that fast-tracked Sites Reservoir, a planned off-stream water storage project north of Sacramento long advocated by the Farm Bureau.

2023-12-04T15:08:02-08:00December 4th, 2023|


Courtesy of the CDFA

The Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation and the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) is pleased to announce the award of $21.41 million in grant funding to1 projects for the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), and $14.23 million in grant funding to 12 projects for the Dairy Plus Program.

“California has set ambitious climate goals, and agriculture is an important contributor to these achievements,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Dairy farmers and livestock ranchers are putting effective new technologies and best practices to work in their barns and fields, and these projects keep that progress in motion.”

These projects reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy and livestock farms while improving water quality and nutrient management. Funding for AMMP is made possible by the California General Fund and state Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment.

Funding for the Dairy Plus Program comes from a collaboration between CDFA, CDRF, and USDA as part of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant. Together, recipients will improve their manure management practices and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated annual total of 87,350 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e).

“Dairy families work hard every day to produce healthy and nutritious dairy products,” said Paul Sousa, Director of Environmental Services & Regulatory Affairs for Western United Dairies and a long-time AMMP Technical Assistance Provider. “At the same time, they look to be sustainable in how they care for their cows, the land, and the environment. AMMP and Dairy Plus help provide the incentives needed to implement Climate Smart Agriculture practices. However, addressing just one challenge at a time is not enough, and that is why Dairy Plus is addressing water quality in addition to methane reduction with the same practice. With these programs, dairy families are benefiting the environment and our communities while providing healthy food choices for all Californians.”

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that significantly contributes to global warming.

The Alternative Manure Management Program incentivizes practices such as solid waste separation and creating ways to store more manure in a dry form while reducing methane production. Implementing these practices provides other important co-benefits, like reducing odor and air pollutants. The program also facilitates compost production from manure solids, which may be recycled as fertilizer and animal bedding.

This latest grant round has brought the total number of AMMP-supported projects to 172. Collectively, it is anticipated these practices will reduce over 294,000 metric tons of GHGs per year for California farms, equivalent to removing more than 65,000 cars from the road.

The complimentary Dairy Plus Program focuses on larger-scale projects for improved water quality and nutrient management in addition to methane reduction.  Practices included filtration of manure wastewater using worms (vermifiltration), coagulation of fine manure solids out of liquid (advanced solid-liquid separation assisted by flocculants), and non-mechanical separation of manure solids from water (weeping walls) that can help capture nitrogen and keep more manure out of a liquid environment; projects could also incorporate aerated composting and subsurface drip irrigation for further nutrient processing and application.

CDFA selected 8 Dairy Plus projects in conjunction with a new 2023 AMMP project and 4 Dairy Plus projects to further advance past completed AMMP projects for awards (contingent on pre-project consultation and meeting federal requirements). Project information can be found at 


2023-11-21T08:23:55-08:00November 21st, 2023|

Historic On-Farm Conservation Funding Assistance Available for Producers

Courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California announces FiscalYear 2024 (October 1, 2023 through September 30, 2024) federal assistance opportunities for agricultural producers, including through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). While NRCS accepts applications for these programs year-round, interested applicants should apply no later than November 3, 2023, for the first application cutoff period.

“We are excited to support California’s producers with an historic investment in on-farm conservation this Fiscal Year,” said NRCS California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “With the addition of the Inflation Reduction Act, we will be investing approximately 50 percent more federal funding to help producers address their unique resources concerns and help them achieve their stewardship goals.”

Through EQIP, CSP, and the Inflation Reduction Act, more than $100 million is available for conservation practices and initiatives, including:
• through the National Air Quality Initiative (NAQI) to assist farmers in replacing outdated engines with new and cleaner-burning technology.
• activities that support wildlife habitat creation and enhancement on farms and ranches.
• NRCS and Bureau of Reclamation WaterSmart partner projects to help improve water infrastructure, delivery, and application on farms.
• National Water Quality Initiative for targeted conservation actions to improve water quality in the Calleguas Creek and Salt River watersheds.

Application cutoff periods allow NRCS to screen-and-rank applications for those with the highest conservation benefits across California’s landscapes, including cropland, ranchlands, and private non-industrial forestlands. A second cutoff period may be scheduled in Spring 2024 as federal conservation funding is available.

EQIP provides financial assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits. These include improved water and air quality, improved irrigation efficiency, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, forest restoration, and creating or enhancing wildlife habitat.

CSP provides producers to earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities integrated within their agricultural operations. CSP enhancements like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, and buffer strips help producers improve soil health while protecting water quality. Other CSP activities help sustain and increase pollinator and beneficial insect habitat in harmony with agriculture production on their land.

Applying for Assistance

NRCS California will be utilizing ACT NOW to process conservation applications for NAQI and Conservation Plan Activities ranking pools to deliver conservation faster. ACT NOW allows NRCS to immediately approve and obligate a ranked application. This means no longer having to wait for all applications to be reviewed and preapproved. Applications selected through ACT NOW will be batched and processed in the order received. Selections will be made on a weekly

NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round. State Technical Committees, composed of producers and partners, work with NRCS to set state-specific, ranking dates to evaluate applications for funding. These dates account for producer needs, staff workload, and to ensure potential participants have ample opportunity to apply. To find out more about our application process or to begin an application, please contact your local NRCS Service Center by
visiting here.

Technical Assistance

NRCS offers conservation technical assistance at no cost to give producers personalized advice and information, based on the latest science and research, to help them make informed decisions. If a producer chooses to take the next step towards improving their operations, NRCS staff can work with them to develop a free, personalized conservation plan, with conservation practices that can help them reach their agricultural production and conservation goals.

The voluntary conservation plan defines and explains existing resources in a simple, easy to understand manner. Typically, the plan will include land use maps, soils information, inventory of resources, engineering notes, and other supporting information. One benefit to landowners who work with an NRCS professional conservationist to develop a plan is an increased potential for participating in financial assistance programs and is a good first step in the overall process.

Historically Underserved Producer Benefits

Special provisions are also available for historically underserved producers. For EQIP, historically underserved producers are eligible for advance payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting services up front. In addition, historically underserved producers can receive higher EQIP payment rates (up to 90% of average cost). NRCS sets aside EQIP and CSP funds for historically underserved producers.

NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America’s private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources since 1935.

2023-10-13T14:02:21-07:00October 13th, 2023|


Courtesy of the CDFA

Portions of Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties have been placed under quarantine for the Oriental Fruit Fly following the detection of multiple flies in each county.

In Contra Costa County, detections near the cities of Brentwood and Oakley have resulted in a quarantine zone covering 99 square miles, bordered on the north by the San Joaquin River; on the south by Marsh Creek State Park; on the west by Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve; and on the east side by the Old River.

In Santa Clara County, detections in the cities of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have resulted in a quarantine zone covering 112 square miles, bordered on the north by Coyote Creek; on the south by Saratoga; on the west by Mountain View; and on the east by Alum Rock. A link to the quarantine maps may be found here:

“Invasive fruit flies are serious pests for California’s orchards and backyard gardens,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.  “These recent detections remind us that we need to remain vigilant in protecting our food supply and natural resources.  The stakes are enormous, and not just in California. A new report from the United Nations notes that invasive species management costs hundreds of billions of dollars each year around the world. We’re all in this together as we work to reduce this impact. ”

The Oriental Fruit Fly is known to target over 230 different fruit, vegetable, and plant commodities.  Important California crops at risk include grapes, pome, stone fruits, citrus, dates, avocados, and many vegetables, particularly tomatoes and peppers.  Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays eggs inside the fruit.  The eggs hatch into maggots, which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit or vegetable, making it unfit for consumption.

To prevent the spread of this pest through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in  quarantine areas are urged not to move those items from their property.  However, they may be consumed or processed (i.e., juiced, frozen, or cooked on the property where they were picked, or disposed of by double bagging and placing in the regular trash, not green waste.

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), agricultural officials use “male attractant” technique as the mainstay of the eradication effort for this invasive species.  This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in California.  Trained workers squirt a small patch of fruit fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of an organic pesticide, Spinosad, approximately 8-10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and perish after consuming it.  The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over an area that extends 1.5 miles from each site where the oriental fruit flies were trapped.

While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the majority are initially found in urban and suburban communities.  The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions of the world or from packages of home grown produce from other countries sent to California.  Help protect California’s agricultural and natural resources; please Don’t Pack a Pest ( when traveling or mailing packages.

The Oriental Fruit Fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of southern Asia and neighboring islands, including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and it has infested other areas, most notably Africa and Hawaii.

Federal, state, and county agricultural officials work year-round, 365 days a year, to prevent, deter, detect, and eliminate the threat of invasive species and diseases that can damage or destroy our agricultural products and natural environment.  These efforts are aimed at keeping California’s natural environment and food supply plentiful, safe, and as pest-free as possible.

Residents with questions about the project may call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.  Additional information may be found here:

2023-09-12T13:34:49-07:00September 12th, 2023|


Courtesy of California Department of Food and Agriculture

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation is pleased to announce $7.4 million in grants to organizations to provide technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers use water more efficiently. The funding was appropriated to the California Emergency Relief Fund by the Budget Act of 2021 to maintain and precisely calibrate agriculture irrigation systems.

Under the Water Efficiency Technical Assistance (WETA) program, the awarded organizations will provide producers with important services to maintain and finely tune the use of their irrigation systems, including:
1. Providing on-farm irrigation system evaluations
2. Coordinating or providing pump efficiency testing
3. Providing training on water use efficiency and nutrient management practices and technology

The department is awarding 17 grants with terms of three years. This is the second round of the WETA program. The first awards were announced in 2022.

“Funding from the WETA program has enabled our team to leverage other funding sources and strengthen partnerships to improve our services and coverage,” said Sacha Lozano, the Agricultural Stewardship Program Manager with the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District. “Participating growers benefit from timely and qualified technical assistance to improve their irrigation and nutrient management practices, and the program plays a key role helping us to achieve water conservation goals for our groundwater basin.”

The WETA grant program is designed to facilitate technical assistance to agricultural operations for on-farm water and energy use efficiency and nutrient management.

Producers interested in receiving training or services provided through WETA can review the list of awarded organizations with contact information at the WETA website:

2023-07-28T13:30:20-07:00July 28th, 2023|


Courtesy of the California Department of Food and Agriculture

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is pleased to announce availability of approximately $4 million dollars of grant funding for its Healthy Soils Demonstration Program.

The program funds projects that showcase California farmers and ranchers implementing established and emerging soil health practices. These projects create an opportunity for local communities to visit and observe soil health practices in action and understand how those practices can translate to their own operations. The program also funds data collection on soil health and/or greenhouse gas emissions to inform future state investments in climate smart agriculture.

Nonprofit entities, university cooperative extensions, federal and university experiment stations, city and community colleges, resource conservation districts (RCDs), California Native American Tribes, and farmers and ranchers in partnership with one of the entities are eligible to apply.

CDFA will hold two free web-based workshops to provide information on Program requirements and the application process. Participants can attend remotely by registering for webinar access:
•         Tuesday, July 11, 2023
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. PST
•         Wednesday, July 12, 2023
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. PST
Registration link:

The solicitation will close on August 28, 2023, at 5 p.m. PST. CDFA will not accept late submissions.

For information on eligibility and program requirements, visit the Healthy Soils Program website:

2023-06-30T09:15:32-07:00June 30th, 2023|

Fresno State Helps Lead USDA Efforts to Strengthen California Food Industry

By Geoff Thurner, Fresno State Jordan College

Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology will receive $2.2 million from the United States Department of Agriculture to take on a leadership role in the new Southwest USDA Regional Food Business Center that will help small- and medium-sized farmers and food producers integrate with larger, regional food supply chains.


The regional center is part of a $35 million cooperative agreement led by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources that will offer added assistance in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colonias communities with inadequate infrastructure along the rural, U.S.-Mexican border. The Jordan College joins 16 organizations and 38 collaborators from four states, coming together to enhance and expand business support services to food and farm businesses.


“Food security is national security,” said Dr. Rolston St. Hilaire, dean of the Jordan College. “I am pleased that, through our team’s participation in the Southwest Regional Food Business Center, we will be able to address regional food insecurity challenges and provide insights on the economic viability of food and farm businesses across the supply chain.”


The Department of Agricultural Business at Fresno State will work to expand connections with underrepresented minority growers, service providers and businesses to leverage resources and expand opportunities for growth and economic stability. Dr. Srinivasa Konduru, chair of the department, said faculty will share their expertise to help food producers and other food businesses improve their business plans, especially to optimize strategies for supply chain integration. 


The Department of Industrial Technology at Fresno State will help small and medium food businesses leverage technology to improve efficiencies, develop new products and packaging, increase traceability and ensure customer satisfaction. 


“All of these areas are vital for today’s regional and global supply chains and Central Valley economy,” said Dr. Arun Nambiar, chair of the Department of Industrial Technology. “It is imperative to provide them with every possible assistance to ensure that they can thrive in today’s world of stiff competition. We will consult with them to help them select, implement and use appropriate technology so that they can access wider markets.”


Dr. Erin Stafford Dormendy, chair of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Fresno State, will share her expertise in making the food supply chain as safe as possible by controlling food-borne pathogens and improving food contact safety. She will work with small- and mid-sized food businesses on best practices for food safety, quality control and sustainability that businesses can follow to meet the regulatory requirements of larger buyers. She will help train a team of graduate students and a team of undergraduate students to become the next generation of leaders in the food processing industry.


The Southwest USDA Regional Food Business Center will add expertise from the university’s Water, Energy, and Technology (WET) Center, which provides vital resources and support to local food entrepreneurs, farmers and innovators, driving economic growth and sustainability in the region


I am thrilled the award will support our food accelerator program that can contribute to the transformation of the food system of California’s Central Valley,” said Helle Peterson, director of the WET Center. “We will empower the next generation of food leaders to bring food products and innovations to communities throughout California and beyond.” 


Finally, the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will provide a team of two MBA students per semester to consult on in-depth projects that will focus on opportunity assessment, feasibility assessment, business planning, marketing strategies and HR issues tailored to the food producers’ needs. 


The Southwest USDA Regional Food Center is one of 12 centers recently unveiled by the USDA as part of a $420 million initiative to help the economy avoid an overreliance on national-scale businesses across the nation. Encouraging smaller, regional food suppliers could help to alleviate food distribution vulnerabilities that were exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, when certain companies shut down temporarily.


“From the second I spotted this opportunity, I knew the Jordan College could be a leader for California,” said Gil Harootunian, executive director of University Initiatives and the Office of the Provost. “The Jordan College houses the experts who can be the backbone of this work to create more resilient, diverse and connected food supply chains.”

2023-05-12T11:56:40-07:00May 12th, 2023|
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