The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is offering incentive grant funds to help growers comply with pending air quality requirements for ag tractors.

Applications are being accepted through Dec. 31, 2010, for program funds which come from a combination of local, state and federal sources. The monetary incentives are designed to help growers replace older, high-polluting off-road tractors with new, reduced-emission tractors.

The State Air Resources Board is developing rules that will go into effect in 2014 that will require the retrofitting and/or replacement of high-polluting engines in older off-road agricultural vehicles, such as tractors, harvesters, sweepers and other equipment. The rules, similar to those already crafted for construction equipment and on-road heavy-duty diesel trucks, are intended to help bring the state into compliance with federal Clean Air Act requirements for air pollutants, including diesel particulate matter and NOx.

Eligibility criteria to qualify for the Air District’s Off-Road Ag Tractor Replacement Program includes the following:

• Equipment must be self-propelled, off-road agricultural tractors.

• They must have uncontrolled (Tier 0) engines.

• Tractors must operate at least 75 percent of the time in California and 50 percent of the time within the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

• To be eligible for district funding, projects cannot be eligible for Natural Resources Conservation Service EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) funding.

Projects will be funded according to the amount of dollar-per–gross-brake-horsepower, based on the horsepower of the engine in the new replacement tractor, not to exceed 80 percent of eligible costs as follows:

Contracts must be established before purchases are made. Funds will be disbursed during spring to early summer 2011.

More information is available at the Air District website, or, call an Air District regional office: in Fresno, (559) 230-6000; in Bakersfield, (661) 392-5500; and in Modesto, (209) 557-6400.