2012 Farm Bill: Farmers Pursue Air Quality Pgm

Dan Cattle, Citrus, General, Industry News Release, Specialty Crops, Tree, nut & vine crops

Calling it a unique opportunity to improve air quality and assist in stewardship of natural resources, a coalition of groups led by the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Nisei Farmers League urged the U.S. Senate on June 1 to retain a successful air quality program in new federal farm legislation.
The program, which is not included in the version of the farm bill that was headed to the Senate floor the week of June 4, helps farmers implement air quality projects to meet federal, state and local regulatory requirements.
California, Arizona, Texas and other states benefit from the Air Quality Initiative in the 2008 Farm Bill. In California alone, more than 1,100 farmers and ranchers partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service on projects that reduced emissions an estimated five tons per day—equivalent to removing more than 408,000 cars from California roads.
“We’ve seen tremendous success from the program and it was so popular that NRCS was able to fund less than one-fifth of the applications it received,” California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. “We still have important work to do in improving air quality, and farmers and ranchers remain ready to help.”
The farm coalition said retaining the Air Quality Initiative in the 2012 Farm Bill should be a priority, so more farmers and ranchers can participate. The coalition noted that the program prioritizes money for areas of the country with the highest air quality concerns, thereby using federal funding strategically to provide the most benefits for the environment, public health and stewardship efforts by farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
“California farmers have shown through their actions that they are eager to implement air quality programs into their businesses,” said Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farmers League. “We urge the Senate to capitalize on this enthusiasm and interest, and support farmers and ranchers in their pursuit of continuous improvement.”