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News Release

Assistance Available to Arizona Farmers, Ranchers to Improve Air Quality

Help Available for Farmers, Ranchers to Improve Air Quality
Submit Applications by March 30, 2012

PHOENIX, Dec. 13, 2011— Agriculture producers seeking to reduce PM10 (dust) and other forms of air pollution can apply for help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Arizona is one of ten states that NRCS has funding, along with technical expertise, to help farmers and ranchers to improve air quality, through the Air Quality Enhancement Program. This program is an Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) from the 2008 Farm Bill.

Applications must be submitted no later than March 30, 2012 for FY2012 funding. If applications are submitted prior to March 30, earlier ranking for qualified applications is available. Approved applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the project paid and up to 90 percent if the applicant is from a historically underserved group. Seven counties are eligible in Arizona, which were identified as non-attainment areas by the Environmental Protection Agency. They are: Cochise, Gila, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Yuma counties.

The help comes in four main areas:

  • Combustion Engine Installation or Replacement
    For FY 2012, Arizona will allow for the installation of Combustion Engines as well as replacement of Combustion Engines to assist in reducing emissions by removing and destroying high–polluting internal combustion engines and replacing with new engines meeting the most current standards.

  • Dust - Road Treatment
    Treating dirt roads with a soil stabilizer can reduce PM10 emissions by as much as 50%.

  • Conservation Tillage
    Conservation tillage operations such as no-till, strip-till, ridge-till and mulch-till are effective ways of reducing soil erosion.

  • Dairy Waste
    Manure has valuable nutrients that crops can utilize for their development, and by using Waste Utilization the operation will reduce the emissions of ammonia, volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen.

To be eligible for financial assistance producers must have a conservation plan. Conservation planning is a free service provided by NRCS technical staff to help producers identify resource concerns and strategies to improve those concerns.

Conservation planning is fundamental for sound management of the natural resources we depend on for the production of agricultural goods and services. Contact your local NRCS field office to begin your conservation plan if you have not yet completed one.

Seven different NRCS offices in Arizona can help local agriculture producers with the air quality program. They include: Avondale Field Office (623) 535-5055; Casa Grande Field Office (520) 836-1960; Chandler Field Office (480) 988-1078; Douglas Field Office (520) 364-2001; San Carlos Field Office (928-475-2692); Tucson Field Office (520) 292-2999; Willcox Field Office (520) 384-2229; and Yuma Field Office (928) 782-0860.

For more information about the Air Quality Program, contact your local field office or Steve Smarik at 602-280-8785. You can also visit http://www.az.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/air.html for more information.