RIVERSIDE, Calif., April 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Technical and financial assistance is available through USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help farmers and ranchers in Southern California to make improvements in their operations that can lead to improved air quality. Assistance is made available through NRCS's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
EQIP applications are accepted year-round, but interested producers need to be ready by May 26, 2017, to be considered for this year's funding. To be ready for EQIP funding consideration, interested applicants will need to submit the application form and meet program eligibility requirements. NRCS staff will work together by developing a conservation plan, which can lead towards approval of the 'EQIP schedule of operations.'
NRCS can help agricultural producers implement conservation practices that reduce air pollution from agricultural sources, including chipping orchard or vineyard debris, tillage management, repower in-use irrigation pump engines, and implementation of "low-dust" nut harvesters. These examples are available statewide for all qualifying producers.
In addition, NRCS has another popular conservation practice that helps farmers replace their older in-use, higher-polluting, diesel-powered tractors with cleaner Tier 4 emissions-certified diesel-powered tractors. This specific practice is targeted to counties that have been identified as having significant air quality resource concerns by being designated as nonattainment for Ozone or Particulate Matter by the United State Environmental Protection Agency. These areas experience air pollution levels that persistently exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards established by the Clean Air Act.
For fiscal year 2017, the approved counties for tractor and replacement in Southern California include: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura.
Contact information for local NRCS service centers is available at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/ca/contact/local/.
NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935. For more information on NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.
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SOURCE USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service