Agricultural Water Use Efficiency & State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program

Agricultural Water Use Efficiency Grant Program

 

Through a competitive grant program, the Agricultural Water Use Efficiency & State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) jointly intend to demonstrate the potential multiple benefits of conveyance enhancements combined with on-farm agricultural water use efficiency improvements and greenhouse gas reductions.

The grant funding provided in this joint program is intended to address multiple goals including:

  1. water use efficiency, conservation and reduction,
  2. greenhouse gas emission reductions,
  3. groundwater protection, and
  4. sustainability of agricultural operations and food production.

It is also anticipated that there will be benefits to water and air quality, groundwater security, surface water conservation, and improved nutrient management and crop health through this program. Excellent proposals will demonstrate the specific regional needs and benefits of their proposals.

Deadline for submitting public comments is September 30, 2016.

Agricultural Water Use Efficiency & State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program – DWR/CDFA Joint RFP public-workshops
Agricultural Water Use Efficiency & State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program – DWR/CDFA Joint RFP Public Workshops

The program will be administered as a competitive grant program and will include a joint application process involving agricultural water suppliers and agricultural operators within the service area.

Projects that enhance and upgrade the supplier’s water conveyance, delivery and water measurement system to allow on-demand and flexible farm-gate deliveries, reduce spills and losses, increase the efficiency, and improve water management. A water supplier’s proposed project must generate State benefits to be eligible for grant funding.

Benefits to the State include:

  • water savings
  • increased in-stream flow or improved flow timing
  • improved water quality; increased energy conservation
  • reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • increased local water supply reliability.

The project must be located within California.
On-farm agricultural operations must achieve both GHG emission reductions and water savings to be eligible for funding. In addition, projects must: (i) use the associated improvements made to the surface water conveyance system proposed by the associated agricultural water supplier as part of the joint application, and (ii) eliminate on-farm groundwater pumping.

To be eligible for funding, projects are not required to be in an adopted Integrated Regional Water Management Plan or to comply with that program, but preference will be given for projects that are.

Save-our-waterThe following entities involved with water management are eligible to apply:  Public agencies, public utilities, federally recognized or state Indian tribes on California’s Tribal consultation list, nonprofit organizations, mutual water companies, and investor-owned utilities regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Applicants that are agricultural water suppliers and/or urban water suppliers should inquire for further information.

DWR has set aside $3 million from Proposition 1 to incentivize the water conveyance component of this joint agricultural water use efficiency and enhancement program. Proposition 1 requires that agricultural water suppliers provide a 50% cost share of total project costs.

CDFA has also set aside $3 million from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) to incentivize the installation of irrigation systems that save water and reduce greenhouse gases on farms in the area that will directly benefit from the conveyance system incentivized by DWR. The maximum grant award per agricultural operation is $200,000 with a recommended, but not required, 50% match of the total project cost. CDFA reserves the right to offer an award different than the amount requested.

Separate contracts with each department will be necessary to receive both sets of funds. A joint proposal may include a request for up to $3 million for the water supplier’s conveyance upgrades (to be funded by DWR) and up to $3 million for enhancements of on-farm agricultural operations to be funded by CDFA (with a cap of $200,000 per operation). This would allow for 15 agricultural operations (at $200,000 each) to partner with the water supplier to submit the joint proposal at the maximum award amount of $6 million. More than 15 agricultural operations could be funded if amounts lower than the cap are requested in individual agricultural operator applications.


Calif. Profs Win Irrigation E3 Leader Awards

Irrigation E3 Leader Awards Go to Two California Faculty

The Irrigation Foundation has named 15 outstanding students and faculty as winners of the 2015 Irrigation E3 Program. The Foundation selected two faculty 2015 Irrigation E3 Leaders, both in California, Florence Cassel, Fresno State and Tim Ellsworth, West Hills College Coalinga.

This year’s class of faculty and students will receive an all-expenses-paid trip next week to the Irrigation Show & Education Conference, Nov. 9 – 13, in Long Beach, Calif.

Founded in 2012, the E3 program provides students and faculty with exposure, experience and education in the irrigation industry. Academics nominate outstanding students for consideration as E3 Learners and/or apply to become E3 Leaders themselves.

To qualify to apply for Irrigation E3 Leader status, an instructor must be teaching, or will be teaching within the next six months, irrigation-related coursework at a North American community college, university or similar institution of higher learning. Prior winners may not reapply.

Chosen faculty will have the opportunity to participate in education classes, industry sessions and networking events. Working with academics is essential to the Foundation’s mission of attracting people to careers in irrigation by supplying the irrigation industry with educated professionals. Faculty members help shape the future career paths of their students and keeping instructors up-to-date on the latest and greatest in the irrigation industry is a must. 

“This is the fourth year of the program, and the Foundation is sending a record number of students to the show,” said senior foundation manager Janine Sparrowgrove. “We are excited to give the students and faculty the opportunity to attend classes and gain exposure to industry companies and technologies.”

Florence Cassel Sharma, Assistant Professor Irrigation/Water Management, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Department of Plant Science, California State University, Fresno researches optimizing water use efficiency through low and deficit irrigation practices, improving irrigation scheduling, and utilizing remote sensing techniques for water resources management, crop water use, and soil salinity assessment. Assistant director of research of the Center for Irrigation Technology, Sharma is a recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Research and Scholarly Activity Award for the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

Tim Ellsworthagriculture technology instructor at West Hills College Coalinga, researches primarily soil science with a focus on precision agriculture and nutrient management. He currently serves on the advisory board for the Canadian Biochar Consortium.

Prior to West Hills, Ellsworth was a professor and faculty director of the online master’s program for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a soil scientist with the USDA U.S. Salinity Laboratory, a visiting faculty member at the Centre for Water Research, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Western Australia in Perth and a senior scientist performing hazard assessments and hazard evaluations for the U.S. Army with regard to management of the U.S. Army Chemical Weapon Stockpile.

This year’s Irrigation E3 Learners are:

  • Samia Amiri, Oklahoma State University
  • Garrett Banks, Colorado State University
  • Colton Craig, Oklahoma State University
  • Spencer Davies, Brigham Young University
  • Daniel Greenwell, Auburn University
  • John Hawkins, Alamance Community College
  • Tsz Him Lo, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Michelle Mbia, Prairie View A&M University
  • Ryan McBride, Brigham Young University, Idaho
  • Alan Rourke, Kansas State University
  • Daniel Selman, Brigham Young University
  • Amandeep Vashisht, Colorado State University
  • Christopher Weathers, Mira Costa College

Toro Company is the lead sponsor and the Carolina’s Irrigation Association is a supporting sponsor for this year’s program. 

Links:

Irrigation E3 Program 

Irrigation Foundation

CDFA ACCEPTING CONCEPT PROPOSALS FOR 2015 FERTILIZER RESEARCH AND EDUCATION GRANTS

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) is currently accepting concept proposals for the 2015 grant cycle. FREP’s competitive grant program funds research that advances the environmentally safe and agronomically sound use of fertilizing materials.

The 2015 Request for Proposals (RFP) includes several initiatives put forth by the department to help effectively manage nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture. New this year is a call for integrating different aspects of nutrient management, including fertigation, irrigation, crop development and soil fertility into easy-to-use decision making tools and concepts that can help improve management practices. Additionally, the FREP seeks concepts and proposals to provide strong education and outreach opportunities on effectively and efficiently managing fertilizing materials.

Proposals for research projects are requested to fill gaps in nitrogen management information for specific crops, including corn, pima cotton, processing tomatoes, walnuts, citrus, and deep rooted vegetables such as carrots. Furthermore, the FREP is encouraging the development and submission of concepts that will demonstrate effective nutrient management practices that have been developed through experimental research trials (e.g., prior FREP research findings).

These demonstrations should implement practices at the field scale in organic and conventional fertilizers. Other priority research areas are developing Best Management Practices (BMPs), along with evaluating strategies and potential technologies to increase crop nitrogen fertilizer uptake; reduce nitrogen movement off irrigated agricultural lands, including nitrate leaching below the root zone; and minimize nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogen fertilizers.

Applicants are invited to submit two-page concept proposals to the FREP by Friday, January 16, 2015. Concepts submitted should be in line with at least one of the program’s identified priority research areas. Further information on the 2015 FREP request for concept proposals, including timelines, application criteria, priority research areas, and examples of successful proposals are available at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/ffldrs/frep/CompetitiveGrantProgram.html

In addition to the FREP’s regular RFP, CDFA is preparing a special RFP as part of its nitrogen initiatives. The priority areas for this special RFP are scheduled to be announced early January 2015. 

All concept proposals will be reviewed by the FREP’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TASC). Concept proposals that are selected by the TASC will be invited for development into full project proposals.

Applicants may also send e-mail inquiries to FREP@cdfa.ca.gov

Since 1990, the Fertilizer Research and Education Program has funded more than 160 research projects focusing on California’s important and environmentally sensitive cropping systems. A database of completed and ongoing research is publically available at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/ffldrs/frep.html

In collaboration with the University of California Davis, FREP is developing fertilization guidelines for major crops grown in California. The guidelines are uploaded on a flow basis and are available to growers and crop advisors through this web-based platform: http://apps.cdfa.ca.gov/frep/docs/guidelines.html

New Jordan Research Center Breaks Ground At Fresno State

by Patrick Cavanaugh

 

Under clear blue skies, with hundreds of agricultural industry members in attendance, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State broke ground yesterday on a new 30,000 sq. ft. Jordan Research Center, at the corner of Barstow and Woodrow Avenues, designed to foster collaboration among students and faculty in agricultural sciences and technology engineering and science and mathematics. The new research center of Fresno State is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

Ground BreakingFresno State President Joseph I. Castro said the world-class Jordan Research Center would provide many opportunities for students. “We are very excited about the Jordan Research Center. It’s going to provide many new opportunities for the next generations of leaders in agriculture, advance the research throughout our region and play a key role in strengthening our economy here in the Valley,” Castro said.

Castro said that the ag industry in California would be there to support that center well. “We are blessed with so many partnerships now with agriculture, and one of my highest priorities is to expand the number of partners, and this Center will help us do that.”

A $29.4 million dollar gift from the Jordan family to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in 2009 made this facility possible. “We are so fortunate to have the Jordon’s as friends. They love agriculture, and they love Fresno State. And we are grateful for their gift.”

The monetary gift is the largest cash gift in Fresno State’s history and among the largest ever in the CSU system.

“My late husband Bud, as well as brother-in-law Lowell, would be so very pleased to see not only the family legacy tied to Fresno State agriculture, but to know that the future of agriculture will be well served by the work to be done in the research center,” said Dee Jordan.

Dee Jordan
Dee Jordan

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Castro also announced three gifts to establish endowments to enhance laboratory spaces inside the building:

Retired Fresno Dentist Harry Moodigian, who walked onto the Fresno State campus in 1956, has given $200,000 in support of a microbiology lab at the center. “I want to see my University in the forefront of research in the field of microbiology. This is a wonderful way of supporting the research program.

And, Dave Watkins, senior vice president of agricultural operations for Loam Spices and Vegetable Ingredients has established a $200,000 endowment to support the interdisciplinary research lab.

“We moved our headquarters to Fresno three years ago, and we immediately began reaching out to the University to build our relationship, established an intern recruiting program, and when this opportunity came along, it was a perfect fit for us,” said Watkins.

Alumni Earl and Beverly Knobloch gave in support of the instrument/robotics laboratory space.

The drought has a tremendous impact on nutrient cycles leading to top management decisions this year beyond agricultural liquid fertilizer recommends of balanced nutrient program to strengthen plants in times of stress which speeds recovery this year’s soil and plant analysis extra importance close attention to residual nitrate levels is critical remember practice responsible nutrient management during this drought here yes you can with agriculture liquid fertilizers@worldliquid.com

This $24 million project will feature open, flexible space designed for collaborative research. Faculty and students from the Jordan College will work alongside colleagues in the Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics.

“At Fresno State, we want to support advances in the agriculture industry, and we have the opportunity to do that with the Jordan Research Center,” said Castro. “This facility is going to make a tremendous impact in the Valley and around the world. We’ll be able to perform research that will advance knowledge throughout the industry.”

“This is the first-of-its-kind on a CSU campus. Fresno State agriculture will be on the leading edge as we continue to make significant contributions to enhancing production agriculture, food systems and natural resources,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College.

The state-of-the-art center will include wet and dry laboratories and laboratory support space. “For our students, the Jordan Research Center will create an environment where research becomes totally integrated into university life. This will be a place where the region’s greatest minds will enrich our environment and unlock the solution for our greatest challenges,” Boyer said.

“Fresno State specializes in applied research, aligning its resources with the needs of the Central Valley,” Castro said. “The Jordan Research Center is a perfect example of the vision and creativity that will drive Fresno State’s growth.”

 

For more information, contact Shannon Fast, associate director of development for the Jordan College, at 559.278.4266 or sfast@csufresno.edu. To discuss potential partnership opportunities in the Jordan Research Center, contact Alcidia Freitas Gomes at 559.278.4266 or alcidia@csufresno.edu.