Aid is on the way for struggling farmers in two of the three Emerald Triangle counties, with funding available to help improve drought resistance and permit compliance.
Hemp for preservation (CFC)Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental foundation based in Humboldt County, Calif., has announced $2.5 million in grant money to help small-scale hemp growers through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Hemp Restoration Grant Program Through this eligible farm financing opportunity, according to Feb. 28 press release.
small farmers in emerald trianglea region whose economy is built on hemp cultivation, ‘pushed to the brink’ by impact of legalization, Cal Matters reports. It’s an area with over a quarter of a million people, and every single person who lives in the area is Dependence, directly or indirectly, on cannabis. Hemp has been the primary crop in the area since the 1970s, with some farms in operation for generations. Starting grant funding couldn’t be more urgent, according to local residents.
The two grants announced—Implementation of Drought Resilience Strategies on Humboldt County Cannabis Farms and Temporary Permit Annual Transfers for Trinity County Growers—will collectively assist 89 farms across eight priority watersheds through environmental work.
“We see a great opportunity for conservation with this emerging industry, especially given that many farmers own vast tracts of land in one of the most biodiverse ecoregions on the planet,” said Jackee Riccio, co-founder and CEO of CFC.
The CFC’s Drought Resilience Program aims to improve sustainable water consumption on about 17 farms. They will do this by installing rainwater harvesting systems, increasing water storage capacity, and/or hardening and improving irrigation. They think this will improve the farm Drought resistance And reduce direct impacts on water sources during periods of low flow.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “frequency, severity, and duration of drought events” Increasing at rates not seen before.
The goal is not to turn small farms into monopolies, however: the CFC states that none of these water improvements will be used to increase farming effects, farm size, or number of permits, but instead to reduce or eliminate extraction from water resources during droughts and in In some cases, farms are converted to 100% water storage.
On the other hand, the Interim to Annual License Program aims to help 72 Trinity growers obtain their annual County and Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) license. The grant aims to provide professional assistance to small farmers to finalize annual licenses, including “complete documentation on compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and mitigation of special case types and allowing a technical advisory committee between CDFW, CFC, and the county to quickly resolve licensing hurdles that arise.”
CEQA is a California law dating back to 1970 that requires an environmental review of proposed farming projects. All annual state cannabis licenses must comply with CEQA. DCC may only issue an annual license once a project has been CEQA-compliant. In addition, DCC has requirements For standard operating procedures, staff training and how to set up operations.
The conservation approach applied at CFC focuses on on-farm collaborative research, biodiversity promotion, and environmental education.
The goal is to bring together scientists and farmers to implement peer-reviewed conservation practices, with benefits provided to wildlife, land and water.
“Working with farmers and transforming monocultures into strategically functional agro-ecosystems is a priority among conservationists globally and we are doing our part here, at the heart of hemp country to return to the back-to-the-land values that the industry was born of,” added Riccio.