CUSP Grant Program

January 25, 2022

We are currently NOT accepting applications for our CUSP grant program. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Round III (September 1, 2022-October 31, 2022)

CUSP, Round III (Official)

ABIRC has received the Drought Relief Grants from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which will be a reimbursement grant for expenses incurred because 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.

Not covered:
-Drilling new well
-Upgrading pump to larger size which would draw more water

-Family farmers who are actively working the land, derive a portion of their income from their own farm business, and are involved in day-to-day operations on the farm
-Farmers whose operations make a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $200,000 in gross sales annually (If you are a new farmer, or have another limitation, and cannot claim at least $5K in farm-based income, please include in your application a rationale for consideration.)
-Because of systems of historic oppression, the most vulnerable populations will bear the brunt of the impact of this crisis. For this reason, at least 50% of all grant funds will be awarded to farmers of color, immigrant farmers, and undocumented farmers.

Required Documents:
A) Form of Identification
B) Lease Agreement or Proof of Ownership of Land
C) Document(s) that are representative of any one or more of the examples of covered expenses

*Note: You are not eligible for this grant if you received a CDFA CUSP economic relief grant from CAFF, ABIRC, CCOF, or Peoples Land Stewardship Fund within the last 12 months.

Applications will be open on September 1, 2022, and close October 31, 2022 at 6:00 PM PTD. You can access the application by clicking this link.

For more information about the fund, please reach out to Madi Her at (559) 402-0067 ext:107 or email her at You can also reach out to Choua Thao at (559) 402-0067 ext: 103, or email him at

Round II (January – April 30, 2022)

Although our first round has ended, we encourage all farmers who did not previously apply to apply for round 2.

The requirements are as follows:

A) Documents needed (please email them to

  1. Government issued ID
  2. Business license, farmer’s market certificate, seller’s permit, or lease agreement.

B) Must have been a small grower before January 1st, 2020

C) Must plan to continue farming business in 2023.

D) Must have not applied for round 1

If you have any questions and/or need assistance with applying, please do not hesitate to contact Yileng Lee at (559) 907-9905. As of May 1, 2022, our application period has ended and we are no longer accepting applicants. 

All applicants have been notified of their status.

Round 1 (August 1-September 17, 2021)

In 2021, ABIRC was fortunate enough to have received grant dollars from and partner with Mandela Partners, who obtained these dollars from California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). These funds are a part of what is known as the California Underserved and Small Producer (CUSP) program, which aims to uplift and support small scale farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing technical assistance and financial assistance.

To receive these dollars, farmers needed to apply through us and meet several requirements. The application period ran from August 1st to September 17th of 2021. Although we could not select all who applied, we were able to select a few.

In December of 2021, we distributed the grant checks to farmers who were selected as recipients. ABIRC’s former Executive Director, Blong Xiong, and Program Assistant, Pakue Xiong, traveled to Merced and Sacramento to personally hand out checks to farmers who reside in those cities. Meanwhile, recipients who live in Fresno were able to personally pick up their check at our Lao Veterans of America office.