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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle (CDFA), 916-654-0462 ,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #22-013
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SACRAMENTO, February 17, 2022 - CDFA’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation (OEFI) is accepting public comments for its draft Request for Grant Applications (RGAs) for a State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) Pilot Program for the Southern Desert Region of California.

SWEEP was established in 2014 through emergency drought legislation to provide incentives to California farmers who are reducing on-farm water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from irrigation and water pumping systems. Since its development, SWEEP has awarded over 1,000 projects, but very few have been awarded in the Southern desert region due to the specific regional water and energy scenarios. Of the $50 million appropriated to SWEEP in the Budget Act of 2021, CDFA is allocating $2 million for the Southern California desert region. Through this proposed SWEEP Pilot Program, projects will be focused on water conservation. They will be required to reduce on-farm irrigation water use and will have to demonstrate GHG emissions from irrigation water pumping will not increase or will be offset. All recipients of this Pilot program will provide post-project water and energy records to CDFA so that the GHG impact of projects can be evaluated in consideration of California’s climate change mitigation goals. 

In 2021, CDFA’s Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel convened an ad hoc advisory group (AAG) to make recommendations on improvements to the SWEEP Program. One recommendation from the group was to consider a Water-Focused incentive program for the Southern Desert Region, where farmers were having difficulty obtaining SWEEP funding. 

“We greatly appreciate the time and expertise that the Ad Hoc Advisory group members contributed to developing the recommendations,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The Pilot Program presented in the draft RGA is intended to address the specific needs of the Southern Desert as the AAG members outlined and we look forward to comments that can further shape the program.”

California farmers, ranchers and Federal and California Recognized Native American Indian Tribes will be eligible to receive funding. Supported project components will include, among others, the use of weather-, soil- or plant-based sensors for irrigation scheduling, irrigation system changes, fuel conversion, renewable energy installation, utility interconnections, pump retrofits or replacements.

Stakeholders are encouraged to review the Draft Request for Applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program Pilot Program on the SWEEP website ( and submit comments by March 18, 2022, 5 p.m. PT to 


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