Earlier this month, the Valley Air District Governing Board unanimously voted to accept an additional $118.8 million to replace agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley. The money will come from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) program. This funding is just the next step in reducing agricultural emissions through regulatory and incentive-based strategies. The board acted to accept the funds on Oct. 20.
Continued FARMER program funding, coupled with strong participation by the agricultural industry has been, and continues to be, instrumental in achieving clean air benefits in Valley communities. The FARMER Program builds upon more than 25 years of collaboration and innovation between the Valley agricultural community, the District and CARB in addressing emissions from agricultural sources, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley. To date, the District has been allocated $432,129,600 in FARMER Program funding during the first four funding cycles.
“The District appreciates the state recognizing the public health benefit that results from the FARMER funding,” stated Samir Sheikh, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer for the Valley Air District. “The San Joaquin Valley agricultural sector feeds the world and programs like FARMER are critical to supporting the ongoing transition to more sustainable and air-friendly practices.”
Valley agriculture, in partnership with the District and CARB, has invested more than $1.7 billion in public and private funding towards replacing nearly 17,000 pieces of old, higher-polluting equipment and implementing other measures to reduce emissions associated with Valley agricultural operations.
In March, the District approved increases to incentive levels for its Agriculture Tractor Replacement program and added two new incentive tiers for smaller farming operations. Operations of 100 acres and less in size can now receive up to 80 percent off the cost of equipment and operations between 101 and 500 acres in size can now receive up to 70 percent off the cost of equipment. Funding opportunities can be found on the program’s webpage. Smaller farmers also receive an increased incentive under the District’s Alternatives to Agricultural Burning program. Small farmers can find additional grant information on the District’s small farmer resource page.
In addition to the FARMER program, the District offers a variety of programs to support Valley farmers, residents, businesses, and public agencies with cleaner equipment, vehicles, and practices. Visit www.valleyair.org/grants or call the grants team at 559-230-5800 for more information.
Clean air measures in the Valley have significantly reduced air pollution, resulting in substantial air quality improvements throughout the Valley. Despite these ongoing clean air efforts, air quality challenges persist, and more investment is needed to continue addressing mobile source emissions under state and federal jurisdiction and that comprise the majority of air pollution and toxics impacts in Valley communities.
The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and San Joaquin Valley air basin portions of Kern. For additional information about the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, visit www.valleyair.org or call 559-230-6000.