DAVIS, Calif., February 24, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing technical and financial assistance to help farmers and ranchers in California make improvements in their operations that can lead to improved air quality. Assistance is being made available through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), National Air Quality Initiative (NAQI).

The initiative is designed to help agricultural producers meet air quality compliance requirements and offer opportunities to support practices that reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particulate matter (PM) emissions from agricultural sources.  Reducing emissions helps achieve and maintain the health- and welfare-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in California.

Significant emission reduction benefits are achieved when higher-polluting off-road agricultural equipment are retired earlier than through normal turnover and replaced with new “like” equipment powered by emissions-certified nonroad diesel engines.

Applications are accepted year-round, but interested producers need to be ready by March 18, 2020, to be considered for the initial round of funding.

Financial assistance priority is targeted toward counties identified as having significant air quality resource concerns based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “nonattainment” designations for ozone and particulate matter or predesignated as “attainment (maintenance area)” for PM10 or PM2.5. These areas experience air pollution levels that persistently exceed the NAAQS established by the Clean Air Act.

The following counties may be eligible for the National Air Quality Initiative:

Alameda, 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 Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Tulare, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.

For more information about EQIP, how to apply, and program eligibility, interested applicants should contact a NRCS field office in the county in which you own land or where you have an agricultural operation.

NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America’s private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935. For more information on NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.