In response to the Governor’s California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future and, as California enters its fourth year of drought, the shrinking groundwater supply underscores the need for action. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) will launch the LandFlex Program as a new and innovative tool to protect drinking water wells. LandFlex will provide $25 million in block grants to local government agencies to grant to growers. The program will incentivize growers to limit agricultural groundwater use near drought-stricken communities whose drinking water wells have gone dry or are close to going dry. LandFlex will provide community benefits such as reduced pressures on drinking water wells, groundwater overdraft prevention, and climate resilience.
Funding for Growers:
LandFlex will provide financial incentives to growers for each enrolled acre. To ensure small and mid-sized farms have access to the program, eligibility is limited to growers with a 3-year average Adjusted Gross Income of $2.5 million or less. A single entity may enroll up to 25% of their total acreage or 40 acres -whichever is greater. No individual grant will be greater than $2.5 million. Growers are identified based on their proximity to drinking water wells that have gone dry or are in jeopardy of going dry.
Growers receive incentives for the following actions:
- Provide Immediate Drought Relief by fallowing land for 1 year. For each acre-foot of water saved in the ground, a grower will receive up to $350 per acre-foot – final amount to be determined by local GSA.
- Long-Term Elimination of Groundwater Overdraft. A grower will receive $1,000/ per acre-foot to permanently eliminate each acre-foot of annual pumping that exceeds locally determined levels of groundwater sustainability. A grower may choose to give more than one acre-foot in the agreement and will be compensated accordingly.
- Transition to more climate-resilient ag practices. Depending on current land uses, the grower could receive between $250-$2,800/acre for the removal of permanent tree crops, purchasing upcycled ag waste for dairy feed replacement, and planting cover crops that use natural rainfall to grow.
LandFlex will give the agricultural community an opportunity to transition now to more sustainable practices and help their local communities in the face of an uncertain water future.
To apply, growers will need to submit PDF copies of:
- FSA 578 for years 2021 and 2022
- CCC-941 for years 2019, 2020, and 2021 (all three years)
- *If you do not have this form for all three years, have your CPA prepare a document verifying your AGI is less than 2.5 million*
- Form 578 (if available) *or an alternative that verifies the land/crop you are enrolling is in production
- If no FSA documentation available, any County or GSA documentation that could assist with verifying previously planted acreage
- Copy of Lease (if applicable)
- Screenshots required by your GSA (jpg or png)
MADERA COUNTY GSA ONLINE OFFICE HOURS
Email [email protected] for individual office hours if you are in the Madera County GSA
DWR completed a public comment period from December 9 through December 29 for the Draft Guidelines for the LandFlex program.
|Milestone or Activity||Tentative Schedule|
|Draft Guidelines Posted & Public Comment Period Begins||December 9, 2022|
|Public Comment Period Closes||December 29, 2022|
|Grant Solicitation Begins||January 17, 2023|
|Applicant Workshop (Eligible GSAs)||January 19, 2023|
|Grant Solicitation Closes||February 3, 2023|
|Final Awards Announced||Late February 2023|
The LandFlex grant solicitation was open to eligible GSAs for a period of 14-business days, January 17 through February 3, 2023. There were three key eligibility requirements for the program; the GSA must be located within a critically overdrafted basin, the GSA adopted and is actively implementing an allocation plan that identifies a quantified volume of overdraft as of Water Year (WY) 2022, and the GSA must have a measurable accounting method (i.e., evapotranspiration or well metering) for WY 2022 and 2023.
DWR reviewed seven eligible GSA applications and selected the top three highest-ranking GSAs, per LandFlex Guidelines. Commensurate with the scoring criteria, these GSAs demonstrated the greatest need and readiness to meet the goals and objectives of the LandFlex Program. The selected GSAs and recommended funding amounts are as follows:
- Madera County GSA – $9.3 million
- Greater Kaweah GSA – $7.0 million
- Eastern Tule GSA – $7.0 million
Growers interested in LandFlex within these three GSAs can reach out to them directly or one of DWR’s partners for questions.
121 W. Main Street, Suite E
Turlock, CA 95380
Office: (209) 300-7140
California Alliance with Family Farmers
PO Box 363
Davis, CA 95617
Self Help Enterprises
8445 W. Elowin Court
Visalia, CA 93290
Western United Dairies
1145 Geer Road, STE D
Turlock, CA 95380
Office: (209) 527-6453