harvesting
Photo: San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

Provided by San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

Photo: San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

The Valley Air District values its relationships with Valley stakeholders and the agricultural community and continues to work closely with these partners in seeking new funding and strategies to help achieve the emissions reductions necessary to meet important air quality goals and protect public health, Valley-wide.

We commend San Joaquin Valley farmers for their willingness to seek and adopt the most advanced and efficient techniques in farming while doing whatever possible to reduce emissions as they continue to feed millions worldwide.

With millions of dollars now available toward these efforts, the Valley Air District encourages agricultural operators to participate in the many robust grant programs currently offered.

Alternatives to the Open Burning of Agricultural Materials

The California Air Resources Board has directed a phase out of agricultural burning in the San Joaquin Valley. To assist farmers in achieving this goal, the Valley Air District’s Alternative to Open Agricultural Burning Incentive Program provides up to

$600 per acre for a maximum of $60,000, to chip or shred agricultural material and apply it back onto the land or into the soil. The practice of applying organic material back into the soil as an amendment improves soil quality and fertility. The program is open to chipping a wide range of orchard crops. Guidelines and application materials are available here: http://valleyair.org/grants/alt-ag-burning.htm.

Tractor Replacement Program

Ag operators are encouraged to replace their older Tier 0, Tier 1 and Tier 2 tractors for new, much cleaner Tier 4 equipment through the Agricultural Tractor Replacement Program. Funding is available for in-use, off-road mobile equipment that is engaged in agricultural operations as defined by the California Air Resources Board. Applicants need to obtain approval with a signed, executed contract from the Valley Air District prior to purchasing a new tractor. Guidelines and application materials are available here: http://valleyair.org/grants/tractorreplacement.htm.

Low Dust Nut Harvesters

Harvesting almonds and walnuts often creates large plumes of dust (particulate matter). In an effort to reduce the large amounts of dust impacting nearby communities and the farming families who live on these properties, the U.S. EPA and California Air Resources Board, in partnership with the Valley Air District, have provided $12.5 million in funding to replace older nut harvesters with new low-dust technology. The Low Dust Nut Harvester Replacement Program helps growers replace conventional harvesters and sweepers with new equipment that reduces particulate matter emissions by at least 40 percent compared to their older counterparts. The program includes pull-behind and self-propelled harvesters, shaker/sweeper replacement technology and non-self-propelled equipment.

Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis with funding available for up to 50 percent of the cost of the eligible equipment, or a maximum of $150,000 per unit.

Ag Pump Replacement Program

This Valley Air District program provides incentives for engine replacement or repower of agricultural irrigation pumps with up to 85 percent of the replacement cost when replacing diesel or natural gas pumps with cleaner technology, such as new, cleaner diesel or electric motors. Guidelines and application materials are available at http://valleyair.org/grants/agpump.htm.

Off-Road Repowers

Valley Air District funding is also available for repowering off-road, self-propelled vehicles used in Ag Operations such as tractors, backhoes, excavators, etc. on a first come, first served basis, providing up to 85 percent of the cost for repower projects. Guidelines and application materials are available at http://valleyair.org/grants/offroadrepowers.htm.

Electrified Dairy Feed Mixing Program

Developed from the Valley Air District’s Technology Advancement Program (TAP), this program provides funding for the installation of electric feed mixing equipment to reduce diesel emissions from the use of mobile equipment at Valley dairies and other confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This program reduces or eliminates the use of tractors to mix and deliver feed, along with other off-road equipment used in the feeding process. Valley dairies and CAFO’s will achieve additional cost savings through increased efficiencies that result in an overall reduction in feed mixing equipment usage. Interested applicants should speak with program staff to ensure proper application submission. This program will provide funding for up to 65 percent of the total cost of eligible equipment and infrastructure. For program guidelines, visit: http://valleyair.org/grants/dairy-feed-mixing.htm.

Agricultural operations in Fresno and/or Shafter may be provided with additional incentive funding under the Valley Air District’s grant programs thanks to Community Emissions Reduction Programs developed by those communities under Assembly Bill (AB) 617, which is designed to improve air quality in the most disadvantaged communities.