As part of the Valley Air District’s ongoing efforts to partner with Valley agriculture to deploy the cleanest, sustainable technologies, increased grant levels are now available for small farming operations in the Ag Burn Alternatives Grant Program, and Ag Tractor replacement programs. Given the importance of helping the Valley meet clean air goals in partnership with Valley agriculture and other sectors, it is critical that this program remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the agricultural community, including making sure small farmers have an equal opportunity to receive district funding to replace their dirty equipment and practices with fuel-efficient, cleaner options.
In 2022, the reductions in agricultural open burning and use of alternatives reached record levels for the Valley since the institution of agricultural burning restrictions, highlighting the recent success of the ongoing phase-out strategy. These efforts have significantly reduced air pollution from various agricultural operations through applicant cost-shared grant programs, with enhanced incentive funding for smaller farming operations facing the greatest difficulties in transitioning to new equipment.
To ensure the ongoing success of the Ag Burn Alternatives Grant program, the District Governing Board recently approved enhancements aimed at increasing accessibility to the District’s programs by small farmers, including an increased grant amount of up to $400 per acre of additional funding for growers farming 100 acres or less in the Valley.
“The Governing Board’s recent program enhancements reflect our ongoing commitment to partnering with Valley agricultural communities in helping to clean our air. This is especially critical for small family farmers facing increasingly difficult challenges in growing food for our region and nation,” stated Samir Sheikh, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer for the Valley Air District.
Alternatives to Open Burning Incentive Program
Operations of 100 acres or less can now receive an additional $400 per acre (on top of the $300 to $1,300 per acre based on crop type and practice) to deploy clean alternatives to open burning
At least 30 percent of total program funding is allocated to farming operations of 500 acres or less
Agricultural Tractor Replacement Program
Operations of 100 acres or less can now receive up to 80 percent off the cost of eligible new, latest certified equipment
Operations between 101 and 500 acres can now receive up to 70 percent off the cost of eligible new, latest certified equipment.
Operations of 100 acres or less can now receive up to 80 percent funding to replace old equipment with certified pre-owned Tier 3 or cleaner equipment
In the San Joaquin Valley, strong collaboration between agricultural operations, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Valley Air District), California Air Resources Board (CARB), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing significant reductions in air pollution, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gases through public and private partnership to deploy the latest and cleanest technologies. These efforts have significantly reduced air pollution from various agricultural operations through applicant cost-shared grant programs. Through these efforts, nearly 17,000 old high-polluting agricultural pieces of equipment have been replaced, and the open burning of over 162,000 acres (nearly 4,500,000 tons of woody waste) has been eliminated through non-burning alternative practices including chipping and soil incorporation.
The District also offers a variety of programs to support Valley 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.
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.