MALT stewardship staff curated this resource list of emergency funding opportunities for farmers and ranchers in Marin County. This is not a comprehensive list of all possible funding sources and not all grants or loan programs may be available for all projects. The agencies below set their own eligibility and program requirements.

MALT’s Stewardship Assistance Program funds may be available to eligible MALT easement landowners in conjunction with other grant opportunities below.

Our conservation and stewardship team is available for assistance and can help you evaluate and apply for the various funding opportunities. Contact us for any questions.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)

The first step is to document any damage or a project need with photos.

Next, contact our local FSA office:

5401 Old Redwood Highway #100
Petaluma, CA 94954
(707) 664-8593

Depending on your needs and eligibility, the following FSA programs may be options for fund assistance:

Emergency Conservation Programs (ECP)

Funding and technical assistance to offset damage by natural disasters and drought.

  • 75% cost-share payments up to $500,000
  • Up to 90% for low-income producers
  • No Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitations

Commercial farming, ranching, and orchard operations are eligible for:

  • Removal of debris
  • Grading and shaping of disturbed soil
  • Restoration of cross-fences, boundary fences, and gates
  • Restoration of conservation structures such as ditches and waterways
  • Providing water and restoration of existing irrigation systems.

Livestock Forage Program (LFP)

Payments to producers for lost grazed forage only during times of state-designated drought.

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)

Payments to producers for livestock deaths, in excess of normal mortality, during times of adverse weather.

  • Payments of 75% of market value of the livestock.
  • Notify within 30 days of documented indemnity.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP)

Financial assistance for losses due to disaster conditions. For losses not covered by LFP or LIP.

  • Assistance for feed and pasture loss as a result of floods or wildfire.
  • Assistance for a maximum of 150 days of loss.
  • Must be filed within 30 days of documented loss.
  • AGI of $900,000 or less.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

Financial assistance for low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting due to natural disasters.

  • Assistance for crop and forage crop loss as a result of drought, excessive heat, floods, freeze, hail, or wind (hurricane strength).
  • Effectively a form of crop insurance up to $125,000 per crop per year.
  • Service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per administrative county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties.
  • Service fee waivers for beginning farmers or ranchers (less than 10 years) and limited resource farmers (no more than $177,000 per year).
  • AGI of $900,000 or less.

Farm Loan Programs

FSA offers a number of loans available to producers for a wide range of backgrounds and crops, to start, maintain, or expand agricultural operations.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

The first step is to document any damage or a project need with photos.

Next, contact our local NRCS office:

5401 Old Redwood Highway #100
Petaluma, CA 94954
(707) 794-1242 ext. 107

Depending on your needs and eligibility, the following NRCS programs may be options for fund assistance.

Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP)

  • Requires a sponsor in the form of a conservation district, tribe, or agency, to secure all necessary permits. NRCS can provide design and technical assistance.
  • State Conservationist initiated declaration for funding availability.
  • Funds for removal of debris and repair of storm drains, levees, stream banks, and eroded channels caused by a natural disaster.
  • Can be used to repair conservation practices from other programs.
  • Can be used to establish vegetative cover and restore waterways.
  • NRCS can fund up to 75% of construction costs.

Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)

  • Technical and financial assistance for large, ranch-scale projects to address resource issues through the development of conservation plans.
  • NRCS secures all necessary permits, provides design, and eventual reimbursement for a portion of the costs.
  • Riparian restoration, implementation of climate-smart practices, and other preventative projects.
  • Funding is awarded based on ranking in batching periods which depend on funding availability.
  • Farmers/ranchers who either own or lease are eligible.

USDA Rural Development

Rural Development Office:
777 Sonoma Ave, E St Annex
Santa Rosa, CA 95404-4731

USDA now provides grants for renewable energy systems for farms and rural small businesses.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

  • Grants cover up to 50% of project costs up to $1m.
  • Funds may be used for wind or solar energy generation, heat pumps, replacing diesel with electric irrigation motors, and so on.
  • Eligibility: 50% of gross income comes from agricultural operations.
  • Farms on National Parks Service land are not eligible.
  • Projects require an environmental review.

Next deadlines: June 30 or September 30, 2023.

Questions to USDA:

West Marin Climate Action can help apply for the grants with support from David Rempel.

Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)

This agricultural nonprofit based in Davis provides policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs that create more resilient family farms, communities, and ecosystems.


Financial assistance available to producers with minimum sales of $10,000 and maximum of $400,000. Priority to BIPOC farmers.

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)

Organic certification nonprofit based in Santa Cruz providing education and grants in addition to organic practice advocacy.

Contact: Larissa Hernandez

Drought Relief Grants

Applicants must be small-scale farmers and/or from underserved communities. Financial assistance ranges between $5,000 and $20,000 to assist with expenses related, and not limited, to:

  • Increased electric utility bills of 50% or more due to increased electricity rates
  • Surface water costs if increased from year prior
  • Cost of hauling water for livestock
  • Lowering ag well pumps if a primary source of water is lost
  • Emergency upgrades to the 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
  • Drilling of new wells or repairs on existing wells if sole source of water for operation.

To be eligible, an applicant must provide written verification from a Groundwater Sustainability Agency managing the basin or area of the basin where the well is located or proposed to be located approving the action, per Executive Order N-7-22.

Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT)

Stewardship Assistance Program (SAP)

MALT’s SAP is a small, direct grants program open to MALT easement landowners and can provide up to $15,000 with a 15% cost-share. SAP grants can sometimes be combined with grants from the above agencies to help complete a project. Landowners in contract with NCRS or the Marin RCD for certain projects may be eligible for up to $50,000.

  • Project categories include:
  • Watershed protection
  • Range and pasture management
  • Climate resilience and carbon farming
  • Technical assistance

Read more about the specific project times eligible for funding, view the application, and contact Scott Dunbar by email or at (415) 663-1158, ext. 313 to discuss your project idea or get assistance with the rolling, year-round application process.