The end results of the FARMER program were put on full display for several assembly members, industry group leaders and members of the media at a recent event held in Fresno. Attendees witnessed the destruction and recycling of older farm equipment that has been replaced by newer models that are more efficient and have lower emission levels. The event was a celebration of the $108 million that was awarded through the Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) program.
“We’re officially retiring old tractors that are Tier 0, or Tier 1,” said Carlos Suarez, California State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “By replacing those engines with new engines, Tier 3 and Tier 4, we are actually improving the air quality of the valley and therefore California.”
The California Air Resources Control Board (CARB) awarded the funding to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District as a means of reducing the overall emissions level of the agriculture industry. Valley farmers can obtain anywhere from 60 to 85 percent of the cost of replacing agricultural equipment such as tractors, pumps, sprayers, trucks and other utility vehicles. Specific requirements must be met to receive the incentive funding for a particular piece of equipment.
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Undersecretary Jenny Lester Moffitt spoke at the event and emphasized the importance of programs like FARMER, noting the continued efforts on behalf of CDFA to incentivize the implementation of cleaner farm equipment. “We’re celebrating $135 million in California Climate Investments money that’s going toward diesel equipment replacement to higher tier, cleaner equipment that’s going toward farmers who are looking to innovate and continuing to innovate in the work that they’re doing to run their operations,” said Moffitt.
Scraping and recycling older agriculture equipment ensures that it will be taken out of commission and will no longer contribute to overall emission levels. The FARMER program along with other incentive opportunities can help to lower the cost burden for farmers in working towards meeting regulatory demands and improving air quality.