The California Department of Food and Agriculture is now accepting applications for the $16 million available to growers in California for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). The application process started November 20th, 2015 but don’t worry there is still lots of time; the program does not close until January 8, 2016 at 5 pm.
What are the SWEEP funds used for?
These funds provide financial incentives for California agricultural operations to invest in irrigation systems that save water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CDFA is soliciting applications from eligible California agricultural operations. For purposes of this program, an agricultural operation is defined as row, vineyard, field and tree crops, commercial nurseries, nursery stock productions, and greenhouse operations.
How complicated is the SWEEP application process?
Once I found my Federal Tax ID number and DUNs number I found the process fairly easy to complete. It will be helpful to review who won the grant money last year and see the types of projects that received grants. You can see the information for last year here.
Can’t manage what you can’t measure
You also need to submit documentation for water savings and green house gas reductions. You have to show savings for both to be eligible. They have fairly simple worksheets for these. You will be comparing last year’s water use and energy use to this coming year’s water and energy use after you make the improvements. So take time to collect your water and energy bills before you start the process. You also want to submit these with your application.
Matching funds are important for SWEEP
The maximum grant for 2016 is $200,000. However, CDFA strongly encourages applicants to provide matching funds (50% is a good goal), as additional ] consideration will be given to these projects during the review process. When you are willing to put some skin in the game there is a higher probability of success.
If you are leasing land you can still apply for SWEEP
Agriculture operators can submit an application, you do not need to be a landowner. It is the responsibility of the agriculture operation to comply with the terms of their lease agreement. CDFA encourages all applicants to notify the landowner of the proposed project. If awarded, CDFA will enter into a grant agreement with the agriculture operation. Projects like converting flood to drip irrigation, adding soil moisture sensors, and solar power have been very popular in the past. These tactics combined with those products should help speed your application process in increase your chance of success. There is more to learn than just this information and I have provided an eight page frequently asked questions link here. If you have any tips for our readers please share them in the comment section below. If you found this article helpful please consider subscribing or following me on twitter @H2oTends.