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California Underserved and
Small Producers Program

The California Underserved and Small Producers (CUSP) Grant Program was created in 2021. It is designed to facilitate direct assistance to individual small and mid-scale and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who need technical assistance support in applying for economic relief grant programs and assistance with business planning and marketing strategies, and implementation of climate smart practices.


NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS 2022 Drought Relief Direct Farmer Grants

California continues to face escalating drought conditions and as a result, Control Section 11.85 of the Budget Act of 2021 allocated $5 million for direct drought relief funds which will be administered through the CUSP program partner organizations throughout 2022. These direct grants will assist small-scale and historically underserved producers to apply for relief grants for those most in need of immediate drought assistance. Producers will apply for the funds through local partner organizations.

Producers who have received a COVID-19 economic relief grant will be eligible for drought relief funds one calendar year (12 months) after applying for economic relief funds. This is to prioritize historically underserved, small-scale producers throughout California who have not received any Federal or State relief grant funds to date. Those who received funding in 2021 will be eligible to re-apply for CUSP direct relief funds 12 months after receiving the first round of funds.

The Drought Relief Grants administered through the CUSP partner organizations will be reimbursement grants for expenses incurred as a result of the drought. Examples of covered expenses can include but are not limited to:

  • Increased electric utility bills of 50% or more due to increased electricity rates
  • Surface water costs if increase from year prior
  • Cost of hauling water for livestock
  • Lowering ag well pumps if a primary source of water is lost
  • Emergency upgrades to irrigation system (paired with conservation) if not covered through CDFA OEFI programs or USDA programs and for other emergency scenarios.
  • Decreased crop yields/crop loss due to less water available or having to fallow land

Not Covered:

  • Drilling new well
  • Upgrading pump to a larger size which would draw more water

Technical Assistance (TA) for Producers to apply for Covid-19 Relief Programs

Critical technical assistance is available statewide for small-scale and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to apply for COVID-19 relief funds (federal and state), adjust business planning and marketing strategies and other direct technical support for producers to become more resilient and recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


For TA Organizations

An additional round of funding for technical assistance (TA) providers including the opportunity for TA providers to apply for funding to support drought response and resiliency, business and marketing support and implementing climate smart ag practices will be available in the Fall 2022. There will be on-going public engagement opportunities to provide input and guidance on this new round of TA funding throughout the Summer 2022. Please check back to this webpage for more details.


CURRENTLY CLOSED — COVID-19 Economic Relief – Direct Producer Grants

Direct economic assistance statewide for small-scale and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers that suffered loss of crops, sales, market disruption and overall economic hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CUSP Economic Relief Direct Producer Grant Program is currently closed. Please check this website for future rounds of funding.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm Equity announces that it is awarding $1.1 million in grants to 11 projects throughout the state via the 2021 California Underserved and Small-Scale Producer Grant Program (CUSP). These groups will be providing critical technical assistance for small-scale and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to apply for COVID-19 relief funds, adjust business planning and marketing strategies and other direct technical support for producers to become more resilient and recover from the adverse affects of COVID-19. The funding for this grant program was made possible through SB 85.

Press Release — CDFA Announces $1.1 Million In Technical Assistance Grants For The 2021 California Underserved And Small-Scale Producer Grant Program (CUSP)

Summary of 2021 Funded Projects


Press Release — Announcing Funding Opportunity

2021 CUSP GRANT APPLICATION MATERIALS — 2021 Program Application Period Now Closed

Request for Proposals — due date May 10, 2021, 5:00pm PT

Grant Applications Due: May 10, 2021
Summary of Public Comments

Program Status

Open

Now Accepting ApplicationsĀ 2022 Drought Relief Direct Farmer Grants

Contact Us

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Office of Grants Administration
1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 657-3231
Fax: (916) 653-0206
Grants@cdfa.ca.gov