New Funding Source
California’s fiscal year 2017-2018 budget provided $135 million to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to expand efforts to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from California’s agricultural sector. Dubbed the Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) program, the new funds will be used to incentivize the purchase of cleaner and more efficient engines in the following:
- harvesting equipment
- heavy-duty trucks
- agricultural pump engines
- other equipment used in agricultural operations
Most air districts are planning to focus on expanding already funded programs such as the Carl Moyer Program, which provides grants for cleaner-than-required engines and equipment for agriculture and other sectors. FARMER guidelines also allow for the funding of zero-emission agricultural utility terrain vehicles (UTV) and the Agricultural Equipment Trade-Up Pilot Project in the San Joaquin Valley.
Funds will be distributed by CARB to local air districts, including 80% to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. FARMER program guidelines state that San Joaquin Valley’s high allocation is due to high concentration of emissions from the agricultural sector, the prevalence of disadvantaged communities suffering from low air quality, and the Valley’s failure to achieve attainment status with National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone.
Use of the funds will vary district to district depending on local demand and previous grants and incentives programs. Many districts will put funds towards fulfilling unmet demand for their existing Carl Moyer grants and incentives programs. For example, a representative from the Butte County Air Quality Management District told CalCAN that the FARMER funding will help fill over $1 million in unfunded applications. Some air districts choose to redirect money to larger districts nearby for more efficient use of funds. This influx of new money may prompt such districts to create their own grants and incentives program. For example the Yolo County Air Quality Management District plans to use the FARMER money to create a new program which will fund tractor upgrades based on Carl Moyer guidelines.
Am I eligible for funding?
Fund availability, application type, project eligibility, and funding timeline vary by district. Some districts, including Butte County, are currently accepting applications.