This past week, representatives from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the California Air Resources Board, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 came together to sign a proclamation lauding the successful efforts to reduce agricultural-related air quality emissions in the San Joaquin Valley. The proclamation stated, “that through the emissions reductions achieved by the District, CARB, and NRCS grant program partnerships, the agricultural industry has met their commitment to accelerate turnover of agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley to cleaner equipment and achieved over 11 tons per day of NOx emission reductions in 2024.”
To meet the emission reduction commitment, through the Carl Moyer, FARMER, DERA, TAG, and EQIP incentive programs, the agricultural industry turned over and destroyed over 12,800 pieces of older agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley, of which over 7,300 were the oldest Tier 0 agricultural equipment with no emissions controls.
“The agricultural sector in the San Joaquin Valley is an economic powerhouse for the state. Moving towards the cleanest available technology in this sector continues to be critical to improving the air in the Valley,” said Liane Randolph, Chair of the California Air Resources Board. “We all have a role to play in building a healthier, more sustainable California, and today’s event shows what we can achieve when we work together.”
While the San Joaquin Valley has some of the most challenging fine particulate matter and ozone air quality issues in the nation, the Valley has a long history of collaboration with Valley agricultural stakeholders, partner agencies, state and federal legislators, and the California Governor. This collaboration has led to the accelerated turnover of older agricultural equipment to lower-emitting equipment through significant funding under the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), Targeted Airshed Grant (TAG) funding programs, and the state Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) Program. CARB, the District, and NRCS also partnered with the Valley agricultural industry for decades through the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program (Carl Moyer Program), and the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The total public (District, CARB, NRCS, and U.S. EPA) and private investment in agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley since 2015 has equated to over $1.6 billion, more than half of which was spent by farmers and others in the agricultural industry.
“The District applauds the leadership of local and state legislators, as well as Valley farmers in recognizing the public health and climate benefits provided throughout California from clean air investments,” stated Samir Sheikh, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer for the Valley Air District. “The San Joaquin Valley agricultural sector feeds the world and coordinated multi-agency efforts like this must continue to support farmers’ ongoing transition to sustainable and air-friendly practices.”
The San Joaquin Valley, though interagency partnerships with the agricultural sector, has been forward-looking and innovative through its continued efforts to use the best practices possible to reduce agricultural emissions through air quality management strategies. These strategies include Conservation Management Practices, turnover of agricultural pumps including electrification of thousands of pump engines, replacement of conventional harvesting equipment with low-dust nut harvesters, phase-out of agricultural open burning, deployment of thousands of zero-emission agricultural utility terrain vehicles, and the turnover of thousands of tractors with the cleanest technologies available.
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.