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Drought Relief Grants Available for Small and Underserved Producers: First Deadline January 15, 2023

by Jane Sooby |


With the ongoing drought crisis in California, farmers face increased costs ranging from higher water and energy bills to installing new equipment. This is especially difficult for smaller farms, BIPOC and immigrant farmers, and other socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

These farmers often fall through the cracks of traditional government aid, so the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD), with funding from the California Deptartment of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), is stepping in to offer direct financial support to farmers who have experienced losses due to drought.

This grant awards $1,000–$20,000 per farmer.

Applications will be received and awards will be available on a rolling basis beginning fall 2022 through summer 2024.


  • Farmers must make at least $10,000 and no more than $400,000 in gross farm sales.
  • Agriculture must be the primary source of income.
  • At least 50 percent of funds will be awarded to socially disadvantaged, immigrant, and undocumented farmers. Socially disadvantaged farmers are members of a socially disadvantaged group. These groups include all of the following: (1) African Americans, (2) Native American Indians, (3) Alaskan Natives, (4) Hispanics, (5) Asian Americans, and (6) Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
  • Producers may only receive CUSP funding every 12 months. CARCD will cross-check applicants with CDFA to ensure no repeat funds are awarded within that time period.

What’s Covered

  • Production/planting expenses
  • Water cost increases, including water delivery
  • Electricity cost increases
  • Emergency upgrades to irrigation systems
  • Well equipment installation and emergency upgrades
  • Drilling of new wells or repairs on existing wells that are the sole source of water for an operation and approved through local GSA as per Governor’s Office moratorium regulation

What’s Not Covered

  • Upgrading to a larger pump that will draw more water

How to Apply

For full details and to access the Google form application in English, Spanish, Punjabi, Mandarin, Lao, and Hmong, visit the CARCD website.