A new program offers California farmers an opportunity to access funding assistance for agricultural equipment replacement. The purpose of the program from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is to substitute older ag vehicles and equipment with cleaner, more efficient models.
The “Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions” (FARMER) Program will have $135 million in funding available to farmers, which will be administered through regional air districts. The funding is made possible by California’s cap-and-trade program, the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Fund and the Air Quality Improvement Fund. All of the funding for the FARMER program has to be committed by June 30, 2019, and will need to be spent no later than June 30, 2021.
The agricultural equipment replacement program is designed to help the ag industry meet the state’s stringent air quality and climate change standards. The funding assistance can be used for replacing things such as heavy-duty trucks, mobile off-road farm equipment, agricultural irrigation pumps engines, tractors and other equipment used in agricultural production. For vehicle or equipment replacement, CARB will provide up to 85 percent of the cost and will cover 75 percent of the cost of agricultural all-terrain vehicle replacement under the program.
The total $135 million in funding available through the FARMER program will be split among the 35 air districts in California. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District will have 80 percent, or $108 million, of the funding allocated to the district because of the significant amount of agricultural activity and size of the population affected by emissions when compared to other districts. The remaining $27 million will be distributed based on each district’s share of emissions from farm equipment and the attainment status with National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Farmers who are interested in participating in the program are encouraged to contact their local air district for details on how to apply.