February 13, 2014

Multiple State/Fed Agencies to Hold 5 Drought Sessions Around State


As California faces one of the driest years ever recorded, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be holding informational sessions on drought resources for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers in several locations throughout the state in the coming weeks.


These sessions will provide information on a variety of state and federal government programs designed to assist farmers with water conservation, crop insurance, and other on-farm management tools. Information on farmworker assistance programs will also be available.


Upcoming application deadlines for federal programs include:

  • Crop insurance programs offered by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (February 28th)
  • Non-insured crop insurance offered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (March 1st)
  • Water conservation enhancements offered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (March 3rd).


These programs offer a variety of on-farm assistance, including cover crops and tree pruning, as well as market-based risk management tools.


Informational sessions will be held on the following dates/locations:

February 18, 2014      6p.m. to 8p.m.            Redding/Palo Cedro

Junction Elementary School – Theater Room

9087 Deschutes Road

Palo Cedro, CA 96073


February 19, 2014      6p.m. to 8p.m.            Salinas/Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office

1428 Abbott Street

Salinas, CA 93901


February 20, 2014      6p.m. to 8p.m.            Fresno

Fresno County Farm Bureau

1274 W. Hedges Ave

Fresno, CA 93728


February 25, 2014      6p.m. to 8p.m.            Ventura/Camarillo

Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office

555 Airport Way, Suite E

Camarillo, CA 93010


February 26, 2014      6p.m. to 8p.m.            SanDiego/Escondido        

San Diego County Farm Bureau

1670 E. Valley Parkway

Escondido, CA 92027


Several state/federal government entities will be represented at these information sessions, including:

  • USDA Farm Service Agency
  • USDA Risk Management Agency
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • USDA Rural Development
  • California Employment Development Department


CDFA continues to support California’s drought response and:

  • Has developed a web page as an information clearinghouse on assistance programs for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers
  • Will continue to work with California food banks to address drought-related impacts
  • Is working with the University of California to develop a real-time assessment of drought impacts in farming and ranching communities.


With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency last month and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. Governor Brown has spoken with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure a coordinated drought response. The administration has also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.


Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message on their more than 700 electronic highway signs.


In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs. Recently the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.


The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.


Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it’s also planning for the future. Recently, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.


Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve and has resources available in Spanish. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights.

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