Each fiscal year, NRCS focuses financial and technical assistance through the EQIP Air Quality Initiatives.
The National Air Quality Initiative is available to California counties federally designated as “Nonattainment” of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards by the EPA. For California, the typical conservation treatment under the National Air Quality Initiative is the removal from service and permanent destruction of in-use diesel-powered internal combustion engines that power and self-propel off-road mobile agricultural vehicles or equipment and replacement with new diesel-powered engines meeting current model-year California emission standards (i.e. Tier-certification for off-road diesel engines) as determined by the applicable EPA Engine Family Name and State of California Air Resources Board (ARB) Executive Order. Significant emission reduction benefits of ozone precursors, particulate matter, and hazardous air pollutants are achieved when high-polluting off-road diesel engines are retired earlier than through normal turnover and replaced with cleaner new model-year off-road diesel engines.
Stationary Pumping Plants: Permanently removing in-use agricultural engines utilized for pumping irrigation water and replacing with new electric motors or with new emissions-certified diesel irrigation engines that meet or exceed Federal state, or local emission standards and guidelines. The primary air quality resource concerns are primarily ozone precursors and particulate matter. Priority is placed on replacing stationary irrigation engines with new electric motors because this eliminates the air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions from the source.
Ozone Reduction: Ambient ozone reductions are achieved by reducing two primary pollutants from its source, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). The priorities with addressing this air quality resource concern is reducing VOC emissions by implementing precision spray application technologies or integrated pest management strategies, and limiting reactive nitrogen and odors through manure injection methods on dairies.
Particulate Matter: Many agricultural operations are sources of “fugitive dust”, of which may contain direct particulate matter smaller than 10 microns (PM10) or 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in mean diameter. The priorities with addressing this air quality resource concern is reducing particulate matter emissions by treating unpaved roads and traffic areas, adopting on-field conservation tillage and residue management practices, establishing windbreaks and shelterbelts around animal feeding operations, and chipping orchard or vineyard removal debris in lieu of open burning.
Conservation Innovation Grants
The Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production.
NRCS Technical Service Provider (TSP) Registry
Technical Service Providers are individuals or businesses that have technical experience in conservation planning and design for a variety of conservation activities. TSPs are hired by farmers, ranchers, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, or public agencies to provide services on behalf of the NRCS.