Organic farmers to get technical help from CDFA and UC ANR – Food Weblog

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is awarding $1.85 million to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources to extend technical help for California’s natural farmers.

CDFA’s State Organic Program is executing $850,000 in contracts with UC ANR to run by September 2024, whereas CDFA’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation is awarding a $1 million grant to run from July 2022 to June 2025. 

“California farmers present 36% of all natural manufacturing within the United States,” mentioned CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “This funding expands technical help to growers transitioning to licensed natural agriculture and helps our sturdy California neighborhood of natural farmers and customers by conducting subject trials and demonstration initiatives with farmers to enhance natural practices.” 

California organically farms simply over 2 million acres, which is about 8% of the whole agricultural acreage within the state, and can seemingly proceed to develop over time so long as client demand continues to rise, based on Houston Wilson, director of UC ANR’s Organic Agriculture Institute.

“Demand for natural agriculture has constantly grown yearly for the previous twenty years,” Wilson mentioned. “Organic at present accounts for five.8% of home meals gross sales.” 

“We are excited to see CDFA growing help for natural agriculture as a part of a broader climate-smart agriculture technique,” mentioned Wilson. “As demand for natural continues to rise, California growers want more and more focused technical help in all areas of natural manufacturing and advertising and marketing.”

The CDFA funds will enable UC ANR to rent two tutorial coordinators, that are at present being recruited.

“The tutorial coordinators will work instantly with growers, in addition to develop analysis and extension initiatives that may contain current UC Cooperative Extension personnel,” Wilson mentioned. “One of the coordinators will particularly deal with connecting our efforts with small-scale and traditionally underserved growers by our partnership with the UC Small Farms Program.”

The natural practices can be utilized by typical farms in addition to natural farms.

“Just as natural farmers profit from UC ANR’s pest administration, irrigation and crop manufacturing analysis, the brand new data developed on natural practices by the UC Organic Agriculture Institute might be helpful for all California farmers,” mentioned Glenda Humiston, UC vice chairman for agriculture and pure assets. 

Some of the important thing UC ANR undertaking aims embrace:

  • Conduct analysis on soil well being administration, carbon sequestration and crop rotations in natural programs 
  • Create new extension and coaching alternatives for natural growers throughout California
  • Provide technical help to each licensed and transitioning natural growers 
  • Review and summarize natural acreage and practices in California
  • Develop financial evaluation of natural manufacturing and markets 

“Clif Bar is proud to have supported the creation of the UC Organic Agriculture Institute and congratulates them on this new and necessary funding,” mentioned Philippa Lockwood, Clif Bar social accountability program supervisor. “Supporting the development of natural agriculture in our house state of California and the good work that is to come back from the UCOAI is a real honor and we stay up for their impactful agricultural improvements forward.”

The 2022-2023 state price range signed final week by Gov. Gavin Newsom contains $5 million in funds for CDFA to help farmers with transitioning to natural operations, and the USDA not too long ago introduced an funding of as much as $300 million for a similar goal. 

Updated July 18, 2022, so as to add Philippa Lockwood quote.