Media Contacts: Steve Lyle (CDFA), 916-654-0462 , firstname.lastname@example.org
SACRAMENTO, May 17, 2021 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting public comment on a draft report outlining recommendations for updates to the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). The comment period closes on June 16, 2021 at 5 PM PDT.
SWEEP is focused on achieving water conservation and greenhouse gas emission reductions from improvements and enhancements to on-farm irrigation systems using water efficiency technologies. Since the program was established in 2014, more than 800 projects have been funded.
In October 2020, CDFA’s Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel, acting on requests from stakeholders, convened an ad hoc advisory group to help propose updates to the program. The ad hoc group was charged with addressing three primary focus areas:
1. Considering SWEEP’s ability to help farmers improve water use efficiency, what is working well? What might SWEEP seek to improve? How might SWEEP evolve to help farmers address new resource management challenges?
2. How might SWEEP improve participation by agricultural operations that have historically faced barriers in accessing or utilizing the program?
3. How might promotion and coordination of SWEEP be improved with irrigation districts, groundwater sustainability agencies, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other potential partners?
The 41-member ad hoc advisory group attended three all-day meetings (virtually) to prepare the recommendations. The recommendations cover diverse themes, including the streamlining of applications, addressing language barriers, improving technical assistance, and considering region-specific needs.
“I am so grateful to the members of the ad hoc advisory group for their significant contributions of effort and time to this process,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We look forward to further dialogue with the agricultural community about these recommendations and their integration into the SWEEP program.”
The draft report was prepared by in partnership with California State University Sacramento’s Consensus and Collaboration program.
The report is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/. Public comments can be submitted to CDFA’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation by email at email@example.com until June 16, 2021 at 5 PM PDT.