A statewide coalition of agricultural groups is collecting confidential information from growers to ensure that the California Air Resources Board incorporates real data as it develops new air quality rules for farm equipment. The survey asks questions related to make and model, engine horsepower, fuel use and hours of operation for individual pieces of farm equipment, including agricultural tractors, harvesters, self-propelled spray rigs, forklifts, and ATVs.

The Almond Board will mail out the survey or it can be filled out online at the Almond Board Web site: http://agsurvey.almondboard.com/. Completed questionnaires must be returned to the Almond Board office no later than Dec. 21. All information will be compiled anonymously by the California State University-Fresno Foundation and submitted cumulatively to the Air Board.

ABC's Gabriele Ludwig said it is important growers complete the survey to ensure the Air Board has accurate information as it develops retrofitting and replacement rules for ag equipment in 2010.

She added that the survey could also serve as a starting point for growers to apply for funding to facilitate the retrofit or replacement of ag equipment. Both USDA-NRCS and the Carl Moyer Program have some funds available.

The Air Board is expected to vote on a final tractor rule in late 2010. The new rule will apply to self-propelled off-road agricultural equipment greater than 25 hp.