California farmers use federal grants to buy environmentally friendly tractors

1/14/2016 12:09:39 PM by

Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are getting new tractors thanks, in part, to a federal grant.

Last week, the Modesto Bee reported that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) was awarded with a $2.48 million grant to help farmers replace old tractors with newer, more environmentally safe ones in an effort to improve the quality of air in the region.

This new grant, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), comes just a month after a similar such grant of $1 million to do the same. In total, the two grants will replace 262 tractors.

"With this financial assistance, EPA and San Joaquin Valley farmers are working together to improve air quality and promote the use of clean, cutting-edge tractors," Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement.

According to the SJVAPCD, the old tractors have to currently be in a usable conditions with engine emissions rated at either Tier 0 or Tier 1, the two which emit the most air pollutants, and have a horsepower rating of 25 or higher. The old tractors have to be turned over and destroyed to ensure that they are not reused and pollute the air elsewhere.

Replacement tractors have to serve the same function as the old ones and be rated in Tier 3 or higher for emissions. The program will cover up to 80 percent of the cost of the replacement, with specific contributions based on the horsepower rating of the new tractor.

At a federal level, the EPA initiative has been responsible for the replacement of 2,200 old tractors.