The California Air Resources Board (CARB) plans to issue a rule by the end of 2010 that will require the replacement or retrofitting of older diesel motors in ag equipment such as tractors, harvesters, self-propelled spray rigs, forklifts and ATVs with cleaner burning motors. The new rule is likely to contain some series of deadlines for replacements over a 10–15-year period with a focus on the older motors first. Regardless of the details, many growers will face expenses to replace motors — if not whole pieces of equipment — earlier than they had budgeted for.

Two programs are available to help growers offset some of the costs for retrofitting, replacing motors or replacing equipment where motor replacement is not feasible: UDSA-NRCS' EQIP program and the Carl Moyer Program administered through local air districts. Both programs prioritize based on air quality improvement per dollar spent, and both require replacements in advance of deadlines.

For advice on applying, contact your local NRCS or air district office, or ask local equipment manufacturers and dealers. Applications require documentation such as length of ownership, the number of hours run or gallons used per year, along with information on the type of motor and equipment.

The ag equipment survey can be used as a starting point for documentation; the deadline for submission has been extended to Feb. 15.

For general information on EQIP and local contacts click here, or look up your local USDA-NRCS office in the phone book.

For more information on air quality issues, visit almondboard.com/airquality.