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Drought relief package to help service providers

Grants available for ag suppliers, rice driers, mills, agricultural aircraft companies, ag trucking firms, and small or socially disadvantaged farmers.

Todd Fitchette, Associate Editor

September 7, 2022

1 Min Read
Agricultural aircraft companies were one of numerous ag service providers affected by the drought. These companies can qualify for California state grant funds to help offset losses incurred by the loss of agricultural acreage because of the drought. Todd Fitchette

The California rice industry is trumpeting a support program to help ag businesses suffering from drought.

California Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson said the $75 million drought grant program approved by the state legislature will help ag support businesses that directly serve farmers. This is not a farm’s program; rather, it is a program open to ag suppliers, rice driers, mills, agricultural aircraft companies, ag trucking firms, and small or socially disadvantaged farmers with 100 or fewer employees in 2019.

“Rice farmers have prevented planting insurance,” Johnson said. “This is about how we help those in our supply chain who were affected by our lack of acreage and the drought.”

California rice growers planted about 250,000 acres of rice this year. This is about half of what the industry typically plants each year, Johnson said. The effects of such a decline ripple far and wide through local economies across northern California, he continued.

Grants will be available based on the loss of gross revenue or gross profits in 2022, when compared to 2019. Qualified businesses will receive grants of between $60,000 and $100,000 to offset their losses. Losses will be verified by tax returns.

The California Governor’s Office of Small Business is expected to provide information on the program this fall, with applications opening in early 2023.

A coalition of ag centric groups, including the Northern California Water Association, California Warehouse Association, California Agricultural Aircraft Association, California Tomato Growers, Ag Council of California, California Rice Commission, and Western Plant Health Association participated in the effort to seek the grant funding.

About the Author(s)

Todd Fitchette

Associate Editor, Western Farm Press

Todd Fitchette, associate editor with Western Farm Press, spent much of his journalism career covering agriculture in California and the western United States. Aside from reporting about issues related to farm production, environmental regulations and legislative matters, he has extensive experience covering the dairy industry, western water issues and politics. His journalistic experience includes local daily and weekly newspapers, where he was recognized early in his career as an award-winning news photographer.

Fitchette is US Army veteran and a graduate of California State University, Chico. 

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