Last week, representatives from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (District), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 (US EPA) came together in Modesto to sign a historic proclamation lauding the successful efforts to reduce agricultural-related air quality emissions in the San Joaquin Valley. The proclamation stated, “that through the emissions reductions achieved by the District, CARB, and NRCS grant program partnerships, the agricultural industry has met their commitment to accelerate turnover of agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley to cleaner equipment and achieved over 11 tons per day of NOx emission reductions in 2024”. According to the District, in order to meet the emission reduction commitment, through the Carl Moyer, FARMER, DERA, TAG, and EQIP incentive programs, the agricultural industry turned over and destroyed over 12,800 pieces of older agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley, of which over 7,300 were the oldest Tier 0 agricultural equipment with no emissions controls.
“The agricultural sector in the San Joaquin Valley is an economic powerhouse for the state. Moving towards the cleanest available technology in this sector continues to be critical to improving the air in the Valley,” said Liane Randolph, Chair of the California Air Resources Board. “We all have a role to play in building a healthier, more sustainable California, and today’s event shows what we can achieve when we work together.”
“NRCS California is proud to have helped our farmers replace more than 6,000 old, polluting tractors since 2008, with an emission’s reduction equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars off California’s roads,” said NRCS California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “But we didn’t do this alone – a robust partnership of agriculture and governmental partners have teamed with us for more than a decade working together to make our air cleaner and healthier for Central Valley communities.”
“The District applauds the leadership of local and state legislators, as well as Valley farmers in recognizing the public health and climate benefits provided throughout California from clean air investments,” stated Samir Sheikh, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer for the Valley Air District. “The San Joaquin Valley agricultural sector feeds the world and coordinated multi-agency efforts like this must continue to support farmers’ ongoing transition to sustainable and air-friendly practices.”
In a District press release, they commented “While the San Joaquin Valley has some of the most challenging fine particulate matter and ozone air quality issues in the nation, the Valley has a long history of collaboration with Valley agricultural stakeholders, partner agencies, state and federal legislators, and the California Governor. This collaboration has led to the accelerated turnover of older agricultural equipment to lower-emitting equipment through significant funding under the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), Targeted Airshed Grant (TAG) funding programs, and the state Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) Program. CARB, the District, and NRCS also partnered with the Valley agricultural industry for decades through the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program (Carl Moyer Program), and the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The total public (District, CARB, NRCS, and U.S. EPA) and private investment in agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley since 2015 has equated to over $1.6 billion, more than half of which was spent by farmers and others in the agricultural industry.”
On hand for the event was Association President/CEO Roger A. Isom. Isom commented “The Association spent a lot of time, effort and political capital over the past several years to make sure this day happened, and to stave off any type of mandatory replacement rule like the CARB Truck Rule that would have ultimately put farmers out of business.”