$10.9 Million to Help Agriculture Reduce Air Quality Emissions

May 1, 2009

USDA Now Taking Applications for Practices to Reduce Ozone and Particulate Matter

DAVIS, Calif., May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Farmers and ranchers interested in reducing air quality emissions from off-road mobile or stationary agricultural sources are invited to apply between April 30 and June 26, 2009, for funds made available under a new air quality provision of the 2008 federal Farm Bill.

“The primary goal of this new portion of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is to help farmers and ranchers attain the standards set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Producers in the 36 California counties that are currently not in compliance with one or more of these standards can apply for this program to improve California’s air quality,” said Lincoln “Ed” Burton, California State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Burton added that producers in all California counties will continue to be encouraged to do air quality conservation, working through the Agency’s technical assistance and regular EQIP allocation. NRCS and agricultural producers in California have spent over $73 million on air quality projects funded through EQIP since 1998.

There are 36 counties eligible to use the new funds to help achieve compliance with the ambient air quality standards for 8-hour ozone and PM10 and PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 10 and 2.5 microns, respectively). The eligible counties are: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, and Yolo.

NRCS has worked with academic, conservation, regulatory and industry groups to identify agricultural practices that will reduce ozone precursors [oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)] and particulate matter [respirable (PM10) and fine (PM2.5)] emissions from agricultural sources. Applications will be ranked according to the amount of emission reductions achieved in the proposed plan.

Funded practices include the NRCS’ combustions system air emissions management practice to improve high polluting, fully functional engines with newer, reduced-emission technologies that meet or exceed current emission standards. Stationary, portable and heavy-duty off-road mobile systems will be included. Other covered air quality practices will include conservation tillage, dust control on farm roads, precision pest control, and manure injection.

For the complete list of practices and for information on how payments will be calculated see www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/2009/index.html or visit with your local NRCS conservationists.

Interested applicants in eligible counties should contact their local NRCS service center. A list of offices is available at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=CA.

SOURCE USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service

Source: newswire

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