Funds announced for agriculture equipment air quality improvements

USDA announced additonal air quality funds.
USDA announced additonal air quality funds.
Dave White, chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, announced additional funding of $5 million for California's air quality resources.

The additional money will bring to $20.9 million the funds NRCS in California is making available to help farmers and ranchers reduce air quality emissions from off-road mobile or stationary agricultural equipment and other sources. Applications are being taken until June 26, 2009, USDA said.

"These funds should help California producers comply with local and state regulations," said White, who is in California to chair the national Agricultural Air Quality Task Force meeting in Fresno. "We believe agriculture can be on the leading edge of setting a cleaner, greener example for protecting the air we all breathe. We're doing what we can to help in that pursuit - technically and financially."

The funds will share the costs of practices that have been shown to reduce ozone precursors and particulate matter emissions from agricultural sources. Applications will be ranked and funded based on the amount of emission reductions achieved in the proposed plan, according to USDA.

Funded practices include the NRCS' combustions system air emissions management practice to improve high polluting engines with newer, reduced-emission technologies.

The funds are available to producers in 36 California counties.