Cover photo for California Underserved and Small Producers Program

California Underserved and Small Producers Program (CA-CUSP)

California Department of Food and Ag

Closed February 15, 2023

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

Funding for eligible technical assistance providers to support California agricultural producers in applying for Federal and State drought relief grant programs including the CUSP Drought Relief Direct Producer Grant Program, and assistance with business planning, financial and marketing strategies needed to be resilient and stay in business during the on-going drought in California. 


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

Application Instructions

Check the list of organizations below that are distributing CUSP funds for one that is near you and currently accepting applications. Then, follow the linked information or call them to apply.


Release Date

October 15, 2022


February 15, 2023

Updated March 18, 2023

Image Credit: Tim Mossholder

This information was gathered from public sources. Ambrook is not responsible for or able to affect the results of any financial programs listed, nor are they responsible for any incorrect information that is listed or is on the hyperlinked external sites. All information is subject to change.

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