Cover photo for California Underserved and Small Producers Program

California Underserved and Small Producers Program (CA-CUSP)

California Department of Food and Ag

Closed October 31, 2022


The California Underserved and Small Producers (CUSP) Grant Program funds local organizations to distribute technical aid and relief grants to agricultural producers in CA. At any given time, there may be multiple different offerings from this program. The current offerings are

Direct Drought Relief

California continues to face escalating drought conditions and as a result, Control Section 11.85 of the Budget Act of 2021 allocated $5 million for direct drought relief funds which will be administered through the CUSP program partner organizations throughout 2022. These direct grants will assist small-scale and historically underserved producers to apply for relief grants for those most in need of immediate drought assistance. Producers will apply for the funds through local partner organizations.

Technical Grant Application Assistance

Critical technical assistance is available statewide for small-scale and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to apply for COVID-19 relief funds (federal and state), adjust business planning and marketing strategies and other direct technical support for producers to become more resilient and recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Drought Relief Grants administered through the CUSP partner organizations will be reimbursement grants for expenses incurred as a result of the drought. Examples of covered expenses can include but are not limited to:

  • Increased electric utility bills of 50% or more due to increased electricity rates

  • Surface water costs if increase from year prior

  • Cost of hauling water for livestock

  • Lowering ag well pumps if a primary source of water is lost

  • Emergency upgrades to irrigation system (paired with conservation) if not covered through CDFA OEFI programs or USDA programs and for other emergency scenarios.

  • Decreased crop yields/crop loss due to less water available or having to fallow land

Not Covered:

  • Drilling new well

  • Upgrading pump to a larger size which would draw more water


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October 31, 2022


California Department of Food and Ag (CDFA)

Image Credit

Tim Mossholder

Updated October 6, 2022

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