Kern County’s nutrient-rich soils make it a prime region for producing the many crops that contribute to the valley’s role in supplying food for the nation. Technology advancements in the agriculture business are rapidly rising and making farmer’s more efficient in their daily duties and operations. Not only are these advancements capable of creating better sustainability, but they can also help in pollution reduction.
With thousands of Kern County acres used for farming, there are thousands of pieces of heavy equipment operated daily to maintain crops, fields, orchards and overall day-to-day business practices. Old tractor engines can emit up to 10 times the amount of air-polluting emissions when compared to newer advanced models.
Over the past 10 years, public and private investments in clean air projects through voluntary incentive grants have dramatically increased. This reflects the ongoing commitment of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Air District), businesses, farmers and valley residents in making clean-air investments that improve the quality of life for all.
Funding from the Air District grant programs play a critical role in the valley by helping to reduce emissions and health risks that can occur from daily agricultural operations.
Kern County farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the robust grant programs offered by the Air District. The Air District is currently accepting applications for agricultural equipment such as tractors, heavy-duty diesel trucks and stationary pumps. Replacing diesel-powered stationary agricultural pump engines with new diesel engines or electric motors may reduce or eliminate permit requirements. The following funding opportunities are available:
Ag Tractor Replacement
Tractor must operate annually 75 percent within California and 50 percent within the Air District. For an old tractor, it must currently be in use, in operational condition, horsepower rating of 25 or greater and be an uncontrolled (tier 0) engine, tier 1 or tier 2. New tractors must have a current model year emissions engine (tier 4) and serve the same function and perform the same work equivalent as the old tractor.
Funding is available for replacement of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Trucks must be owned and operated for the past 24 months, must be in compliance with the California Air Resource Board’s Truck and Bus Regulation and the truck must operate annually 75 percent within California and 50 percent within the Air District boundaries.
Agricultural and Off-Road Equipment Repower
Funding is available for diesel repower of agricultural and off-road, self- propelled equipment, up to 85 percent for repower costs. Eligible equipment may include scrapers, dozers, backhoes, balers, combines, excavators, pavers and rollers.
Stationary Agricultural Irrigation Pumps
Funding is available for the following categories:
• Diesel tier 3 going to tier 4
• Diesel tier 3 or 4 going to electric
Funding amounts are based on a dollar per horsepower of the new engine motor, not to exceed 85 percent of the eligible costs.
For more information on these grants, visit www.valleyair.org/grants and click on “Business” or call 559-230-5800 to speak to a representative.
Cassandra Melching is an outreach & communications representative for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.