July 6, 2023

Climate Smart Farming Webinar, Learnings and Insights

This past week, Western Growers hosted a webinar highlighting two USDA Climate Smart Farming Grant awardees and invited CDFA to talk about California Climate-Smart Framing initiatives and other grower resources.

USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, or Climate Smart Farming Grants, provide funding for partners to implement large-scale pilot projects that create market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon.

Awardee: CSUMB and UC Davis

This grower-focused project aims to build sustainability infrastructure within operations, including resilience to climate change and variability for California cool-season specialty crops. Comprehensive, long-term data sets for cool season vegetables are currently lacking, and this project will provide incentives for growers to implement Climate-Smart Farming practices. The goals of this project are to:

  • Decrease Nitrogen fertilizer inputs
  • Improve Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE)
  • Increase Soil Organic Matter (SOM)
  • Reduce Nitrogen Oxide Emissions (N2O)

The CSUMB and UC Davis project will work to improve existing Decision Support Tools through field verification and develop sustainability portfolios for growers to assess and contextualize Climate-Smart Farming practices. Educational opportunities in climate-smart production techniques and marketing strategies will also be provided.

Interested growers can contact the CSUMB/UCD team here.


Awardee: Elevated Foods

This collaborative project expands climate-smart fruit and vegetables markets and support farmer and rancher implementation and monitoring of climate-smart practices. The goal of Elevated Foods is to create a collective of growers who share the same vision of positioning their organization for sustainable, long-term growth.

Consumers and buyers are demanding a more transparent and sustainable supply chain. Independent growers are at risk of getting left behind in a rapidly changing industry. To support these growers, Elevated Foods will:

  • Support farmers in implementing climate-smart on-farm agriculture practices
  • Implement innovative farm technology to measure and improve processes throughout our growers
  • Promote and market Climate-Smart Commodities to customers to secure sustainable, long-term market premiums

There is a tremendous challenge for growers to find the most effective solutions to the problems they have within the vast ag tech landscape. This project fills the gap with a portfolio of branded produce focused on sustainability. Bringing together like-minded growers will make our industry stronger, elevate our food system and increase the health of our planet and its people.


CDFA shared several programs focused on climate-smart farming practices including:

  • Healthy Soils Demonstration Program
    • Funds on-farm demonstration projects that collect data, showcase conservation management practices and create a platform promoting widespread adoption of conservation management practices throughout the state
    • On farm management practices that include─but are not limited to─cover cropping, no-till, reduced-till, mulching, compost application and conservation planting
  • HSP Block Grant Pilot Program
    • Designed to facilitate financial assistance to California agricultural operations through regional block grant administrators
  • State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
    • Provides financial assistance in the form of grants to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations
    • Eligible system components include soil moisture monitoring, drip systems, switching to low pressure irrigation systems, pump retrofits, variable frequency drives and installation of renewable energy to reduce on-farm water use and energy (among others)
  • SWEEP Block Grant Pilot Program
    • Designed to facilitate financial assistance to California agricultural operations through regional block grant administrators
  • Water Efficiency Technical Assistance Program (WETA)
    • Designed to facilitate technical assistance to agricultural operations for on-farm water and energy use efficiency and nutrient management
  • Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
    • Funding to provide technical assistance to the applicants and the awardees of the Alternative Manure Management Program, the Healthy Soils Incentive Program and/or the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program.

Watch the full webinar here.

Read more about the USDA Partnerships for Climate Smart-Commodities Grant Program here.

Read more about the CDFA Grant programs here.