State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)

North Central Coast Regional Block Grant Solicitation
Funded by the California Department of Food & Agriculture

Applications OPEN from April 10th to June 28th, 2024.

$4,000,000 available for projects in San Mateo, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey Counties

Click HERE for the SWEEP North Central Coast Block Grant Webinar

Saving Water and Reducing Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions

The CDFA-SWEEP program offers agricultural operations an opportunity to receive financial support (up to $200,000 per operation) for implementing projects and investing in irrigation system upgrades and energy sources that BOTH conserve water and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions!

Projects may combine multiple strategies that result in environmental benefits, including, but not limited to, irrigation scheduling technologies, improvements to irrigation system efficiency, pump efficiency improvements, and installation of renewable energy.

Click here for a list of eligible SWEEP projects and their requirements.

NEW BLOCK GRANT PROCESS

Historically, interested farmers have submitted applications directly to CDFA, but starting in 2024 the program is piloting a new regional block-grant application process, through clusters of partner organizations serving a particular area, defined as block grant recipients. The RCDs of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Mateo counties are partnering to administer one of these regional block grant funding pools for the North Central Coast Region, in collaboration with San Benito RCD. More information on eligibility and application process below.

This is a competitive solicitation, and it prioritizes assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDFRs).

Under the Pilot Block Grant model, your proposal will compete within a much smaller applicant pool (compared to the statewide competition in the traditional direct-to-grower solicitation). However, the program demand is high within our region, and will likely exceed the funding availability.

You have the option to work with staff from your local RCD or work independently to prepare and submit your application through the application link below. Projects will be reviewed and ranked on a technical merit basis following a third party vetted scoring rubric.

If selected for funding, you will sign a contract with one of the three partner RCDs to access your award and implement your project. Project costs will be distributed on a reimbursement basis. If you have limited capacity to front costs and get the project started, you can submit a request for an advance payment (up to 25% of your project cost), or apply for a bridge conservation loan through our partner California FarmLink.

Eligible Applications

  • Eligible grant beneficiaries include: California farmers, ranchers, Federally- and California-Recognized Native American Indian Tribes, and non-profit organizations engaged in agricultural production.
    • For this program, an agricultural operation is defined as row, vineyard, field and tree crops, commercial nursery, nursery stock production, or greenhouse operation producing food crops or flowers as defined in Food and Agricultural Code section 77911.
  • Proposed projects must quantify BOTH water savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions by using CDFA’s quantification tools.
  • Grant beneficiaries can apply for a maximum of $200,000 for eligible practices with no more than 25% of the budget toward labor costs.
  • Awards are limited to one per agricultural operation using their unique Federal Tax Identification Number per grant solicitation.
  • The North Central Coast RCD’s solicitation accepts SWEEP applications within our service area: Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Monterey, and San Benito Counties.

INELIGIBLE APPLICATIONS

  • University and research farms are not eligible for funding.
  • Medicinal and recreational cannabis operations are not eligible.
  • An agricultural operation or individual cannot receive a total cumulative SWEEP award amount of more than $600,000 (since the SWEEP program was initiated in 2014).
  • Proposed projects cannot remove previously funded SWEEP projects.
  • Proposals cannot request the same practices previously implemented through SWEEP funding on the same APN.

A full list of CDFA’s SWEEP Block Grant Pilot Program FAQs are available here.

APPLICATION AND AWARD TIMELINE

  • April 10th – June 28th, 2024– North Central Coast solicitation open. RCD staff and technical review committee members reviews and scores submitted proposals as they are being received.
  • June 28th – mid July – RCD staff and technical review committee members completes ranking of all submitted applications.
  • July 2024 – Selected proposals are submitted to CDFA for final review and funding approval. Announcement of selected awardees.
  • August - September 2024– RCD staff work with selected awardees to prepare and sign contracts with individual farming operations.
  • October 2024 February 2026 – project implementation and verification.

APPLICATION PRIORITIZATION

Applications will be ranked based on several factors.

  • Proposed project water and greenhouse gas emission reduction potential on a per acre basis.
  • Multiple project co-benefits
  • 35% of the available funding will be dedicated to applicants who identify as Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDFRs), according to the Farmer Equity Act of 2017[1]. This includes the following groups: (1) African Americans (2) Native American Indians (3) Alaskan Natives (4) Hispanics (5) Asian Americans (6) Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
  • Under no circumstances will any eligible applicant be denied access to SWEEP services or funding consideration based on their operational status or social identity.

APPLICATION PROCESS

  1. Fill out the online Official North Central Coast RCD’s SWEEP application. Link below.
  2. Submitsupporting application documents to your local RCD or Technical assistance provider helping you with this application. Your local RCD staff can assist with compiling and/or preparing these documents. Supporting documents include: well pump test results, electric and/or energy use bills (most recent 12 consecutive months), project description, design and maps, itemized budget, vendor quotes for proposed project components, and a proposed timeline for project implementation.
  3. Follow-up meeting with your local RCD staff to discuss your application.
  4. Calculate the water savings and greenhouse gas reduction benefits of your project using either the SWEEP irrigation water savings and GHG calculators or the new SWEEP project assessment tool. Your local RCD staff can assist you with these quantification tools.
  5. Submitted applications are reviewed and scored as they are being received.
  6. Final ranking completed after solicitation closes, and selected proposals (highest ranked) are submitted to CDFA for final review and funding approval.
  7. Applicants notified of status of proposed project: approved, postponed to potential next selection round, needs revision, or declined.
  8. Approved and selected applicants sign contracts before work on proposed projects begins.

[1] The Farmer Equity Act of 2017 defines “Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher” to mean a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. “Socially disadvantaged group” means a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.

Submit Your Application By June 28, 2024


Conservation benefit:
Supports long-term groundwater sustainability through water conservation and lowers greenhouse gas emissions to slow the impacts of climate change.

Partners:
California Department of Food and Agriculture
RCD of Monterey County
RCD of Santa Cruz County
San Benito RCD
San Mateo RCD

Funders:
California Department of Food and Agriculture

Ag Resource Libary

RCD Contacts:

Santa Cruz RCD
Dan Hermstad
Sacha Lozano

Monterey RCD
Kasey Butler
Evelyn Nordberg

San Mateo RCD
Doug Millar
Mia Riddle

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