San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Valley Air) will receive $118.8 million to help farmers replace gas- and diesel-powered equipment as part of a plan to reduce agricultural emissions from Bakersfield to Stockton.
Funding will come from the California Air Resources Board Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions program, which provides funding for low-emission farming equipment through air resources boards across the state.
Valley Air will use the funding to provide farmers with discounts on low-emission agricultural equipment like tractors, harvesting vehicles, balers and forklifts. Farms with 100 acres or less are eligible to receive up to 80% off the cost of electric or lower-polluting diesel equipment, and farms between 100 and 500 acres up to 70% off.
CARB and Valley Air have spent $1.7 billion to replace 17,000 pieces of old, higher-polluting equipment in the valley since the program began.
Aaron Tarango with Valley Air says the new equipment makes a significant difference in the valley.
“The new type [of] diesel basically kind of scrubs the exhaust as it leaves the engine and brings it down to that 95% reduction from that old school or old-style tractors,” he said.
Stockton grower Paul Sanguinetti says the harvesting process can sometimes last as long as 24 hours and that puts electric equipment at a disadvantage compared to diesel.
“No problem for an electric motor putting the horsepower out,” he said. “The problem is carrying enough electricity so you can run it in the amount of time you need to run it. In the field, you’ve got a small area that’s holding a lot of energy compared to the number of batteries you [have] to carry to have the same amount of energy.”
The U.S. has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and agriculture, which accounts for 5% of the nation’s industrial energy consumption.
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