California invested just over $100 million in a broad diversity of conservation contracts with farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners through the USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in the 2018 federal fiscal year which ended Sept. 30. This places California second in the Nation behind Texas for investments through EQIP.
"EQIP is a partnership between private landowners and our Agency--and when landowner contributions are included, the total conservation investment for the State is nearly doubled," says Carlos Suarez, California State Conservationist for USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
"Two thousand eighteen has certainly been a banner year for conservation in California," says Suarez, "but it is not merely a matter of money. We are seeing an increasing need to help landowners plan for changing resource conditions and build resiliency into their operations through sound conservation plans and strategic investments."
Suarez noted that a record $1.5 million was invested in seasonal high tunnels—with especially high interest by small scale and historically underserved farmers. The tunnels help shield crops from weather extremes and make more food locally available with a lower carbon footprint.
The entire 13-page summary of California 2018 Farm Bill expenditures can be found at https://go.usa.gov/xPXPr