FARM: Area farmers ask state ag secretary to streamline infrastructure grant process

Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary (center) was in El Centro Wednesday to tour two local farms that are using State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program grants to install more efficient irrigation systems. She also spoke with farmers about concerns they had with being eligible for grant funding. Also seen here, from left, are Ray Castillo, Imperial County supervisor for District 5; J. Michael Dessert, Emerald Seed Co. president; Henry Martinez, IID energy manager, California Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, District 56; and Joshua Cordova, project manager of Emerald Goes Green. PHOTO CHRIS McDANIEL

EL CENTRO — Area farmers are calling on Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary, to cut the tape when it comes to applying for and being awarded grants through the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program.

SWEEP, operated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, provides financial assistance in the form of grants to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations, according to the agency’s website.

Staff Writer Chris McDaniel can be reached at or 760-337-3440.

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