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Governor Newsom Eliminates Disaster Safety Net for Small & BIPOC Farms, Dairies in May Revise Budget Proposal


For Immediate Release: May 14, 2024

Governor Newsom eliminates disaster safety net for small & BIPOC farms, dairies in May Revise budget proposal

Sacramento, CA — Today California Governor Gavin Newsom released his 2024-25 May Revision budget proposal. While acknowledging this year’s budget deficit, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) are disappointed by the additional cuts made to critical disaster relief for the majority of California’s farmers. Small and underserved farms account for over 75% of all farms in California, making them the backbone of our food system. However, the Governor has proposed $17.9 million in cuts to the most accessible emergency relief program for small and underserved farmers. California farms have suffered both droughts and flooding in recent years and these cuts will eliminate funding for the most effective program to provide them assistance.

“As farmers, we have faced numerous challenges in recent years but combined with climate change, disasters have become more frequent, more severe, and more expensive. Small family farms like mine are struggling to keep up with emergency repairs and we cannot remain viable without some sort of a safety net. The Governor’s decision to eliminate the remaining disaster emergency relief—especially as it pertains to flood and storms—is a devastating blow that leaves us feeling abandoned in our time of need.” — Lilian Thaoxaochay, GT Florist & Herbs

Together the January and May Revision budget cuts eliminate vital investments that serve as a financial lifeline for farmers during climate crises and support essential small farm infrastructure. CAFF and CCOF urge budget revisions to restore the following crucial funds:

  • $17.9 million CDFA’s California Underserved and Small Producer Program for Emergency Flood and Drought Relief ($12.9M proposed in January Budget + additional $5 million in May Revise)
  • $14.4 million to CDFA’s Farm to Community Food Hub Program for essential supply chain infrastructure resources

“CUSP funding has been a lifeline to keep organic family farms in business during these past few years of severe economic hardship. Without the safety net provided by CUSP, many California organic dairy farms would likely have gone out of business. Thanks to this program, we avoided the permanent loss of many of these organic farms; agricultural businesses that are critical economic hubs for California’s rural communities. Unfortunately, farm hardships have continued, meaning that the CUSP program is needed now more than ever.” – Joseph Button, VP, Sustainability & Strategic Impact, Straus Family Creamery


“Despite California’s budget deficit, disaster relief programs like CUSP for small and underserved farmers should never be compromised. Farmers are on the frontlines of climate change disasters while operating on razor-thin margins. Without support, disasters like flood or drought can be devastating. Small farms are the backbone of California’s food system and yet we continue to see little investment in a desperately-needed safety net by this administration. The lack of equity in this proposal is disappointing, to say the least.” — Jamie Fanous, CAFF Policy Director


“The proposed $17.9 million in cuts to critical disaster relief jeopardizes the resilience of California’s food system. The CUSP program is a critical safety net for food producers who are weathering unprecedented challenges outside of their control, from extreme weather to supply chain disruptions and inflation. We call on the State to protect California’s food security by supporting those who feed our communities.” – Rebekah Weber, CCOF Policy Director

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