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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 #22-135
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SACRAMENTO, September 30, 2022 – CDFA’s Farm Equity Office is seeking public input on drought-related program priorities to help inform the Request for Applications (RFA) for the 2023 California Underserved and Small Producer Grant Program (CUSP).

The current CUSP Program was formed in 2021 for COVID-19 economic relief and includes two components for eligible entities. Part 1 provides funding for technical assistance providers to support farmers and ranchers in applying for COVID-19 pandemic-related economic relief grant programs and assistance with business planning and marketing strategies and other business economic recovery activities. Part 2 supports partnering organizations to act as “regional grant administrators” to provide direct grant assistance for underserved farmers and ranchers to aid in economic recovery and drought relief measures. Link to program website for more information on the CUSP program.

As a component of the 2021-2022 Budget Act, the CUSP program grant solicitation will focus on drought-related challenges facing small and medium scale socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

In anticipation of making these programmatic changes for the next round of funding, CDFA will hold two public listening sessions in October, followed by a public comment period, in order to ensure the new program will continue to serve the immediate drought related needs for historically underserved producers.

Live/In-person Comments: The CDFA Farm Equity Office will host two public listening sessions to welcome live feedback to help identify top drought related challenges and priorities for Part 1 & Part 2 components of the 2023 CUSP Grant Program.

The first webinar will be hosted October 6, 2022, at 11:00am via Zoom.

The second webinar will be hosted October 19, 2022, at 11:00 via Zoom. Both webinars will be hosted in English and Spanish and will have opportunities for public comments in both languages.

Zoom meeting information for these sessions is available on the CDFA CUSP Program website. No registration is necessary for these sessions.

Comments related to drought program priorities will also be accepted via email and can be submitted to by 5 p.m. PT on October 21, 2022. Include "2022 CUSP Program Priorities" in the subject line of the email.

CDFA will consider all feedback regarding drought-related priorities received during the public listening sessions before releasing a draft RFA for the 2022 CUSP Grant Program for a 15-day public comment period beginning on October 28, 2022.


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