The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Arizona has $1.4 million available for farmers and ranchers to improve air quality by reducing PM10 (dust) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Approved applicants will receive up to 75 percent of the project costs paid, or up to 90 percent if the applicant is from a historically underserved group.

The help comes in four main areas: PM-10 reduction initiatives in dust – road treatment, conservation tillage, and track-out, plus a VOC reduction initiative in dairy waste.

Farmers and ranchers in Cochise, Maricopa, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Yuma counties are eligible. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified these areas as severe or extreme non-attainment areas.

Seven Arizona NRCS field offices can assist producers with the air quality program including: Avondale office, (623) 535-5055; Casa Grande, (520) 836-1960; Chandler, (480) 988-1078; Douglas, (520) 364-2001; Tucson, (520) 292-2999; Willcox, (520) 384-2229; and Yuma, (928) 782-0860.

May 1 is the deadline to apply for the assistance. The air quality assistance comes from the Environmental Quality Incentive Program in the 2008 farm bill.

For more information, contact a NRCS field office or Kevin Stein at (602) 280-8800.