A series of workshops will be held during the next few weeks to update farmers and ranchers about a new cost-share program to help reduce air quality emissions from off-road mobile or stationary agricultural sources. Fifteen workshops are scheduled in various agricultural production areas throughout the state, beginning on Wednesday May 27 in Fresno and concluding on Tuesday, June 16 in Stockton. A complete list of workshops is below.

The cost-share program is administered by the USDA — Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as part of a new air quality provision of the 2008 Federal Farm Bill, provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Under the program, agricultural producers can apply for cost-share funds to replace, repower, or retrofit existing combustion engines. The deadline to apply is June 26, 2009.

Producers in 36 counties are eligible to use the funds to help reduce ozone and particulate matter emissions. Priority will be given to replacing older, higher-polluting engines with newer, reduced-emission technology engines that meet or exceed current emission standards. Stationary, portable and heavy-duty off-road mobile systems are eligible.

Other eligible practices to reduce fugitive dust (particulate matter) include conservation tillage, harvest activities, precision pest control and manure injection. Up to $22 million is available for this program. In addition, certain regional Air Pollution Control Districts may provide co-funding opportunities.

The workshops will provide detailed information and applications for the program.

Representatives from the USDA's NRCS and Farm Services Agencies, regional Air Districts, agricultural associations and farm equipment dealers will be at each workshop to answer questions and to help producers determine if they are eligible for the program.

For complete details, visit: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/2009.

• Agriculture Air Quality Workshops

Wednesday, May 27

9:00 a.m. - Thomason Tractor, 985 12th St., Firebaugh

2:00 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau, 1274 W. Hedges Ave., Fresno

6:00 p.m. - Madera County Fairgrounds, Van Alen Hall, 1850 W. Cleveland Ave., Madera

Friday, May 29

9:00 a.m. - Kern Ag Pavilion, 3300 E. Belle Terrace, Bakersfield

2:00 p.m. - Tulare County Ag Commissioner/UCCE Auditorium, 4437 S. Laspina, Tulare

Tuesday, June 2

10:00 a.m. - San Mateo County Fairgrounds, EXPO Cafe, 2495 S. Delaware St, San Mateo

3:00 p.m. - Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 970 Piner Rd., Santa Rosa

Wednesday, June 3

8:00 a.m. - Yuba-Sutter County Fairgrounds, Franklin Hall, 442 Franklin Ave., Yuba City

Thursday, June 4

2:00 p.m. - El Dorado County Farm Bureau, 6170 China Hill Rd., El Dorado

Monday, June 8

1:00 p.m. - U.C. Coop Extension, Ventura, 669 County Square Drive, #100, Ventura

Tuesday, June 9

1:30 p.m. - Riverside County Farm Bureau, 21160 Box Springs Rd., Ste. 102, Moreno Valley

Wednesday, June 10

8:00 a.m. - Imperial County Farm Bureau, 1000 Broadway, El Centro

Tuesday, June 16

8:00 a.m. - Merced County Farm Bureau, 646 S. Highway 59, Merced

1:00 p.m. - Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, 1201 L St., Modesto

5:30 p.m. - San Joaquin County Farm Bureau, 3290 N. Ad Art Rd., Stockton