California Air Quality & Energy Information
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is dedicated to implementing conservation practices that improve air quality and promote energy conservation.
California is home to some of the worst air quality in the nation with much of the state not meeting federal ambient air quality standards for one or more air pollutants. The air pollutants posing the greatest health concerns in California's ambient air are ozone and particulate matter. In addition, through the implementation of California Assembly Bill 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006), the State of California has adopted aggressive environmental and energy goals and plans that include: reduce climate change or greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2050; provide at least 33 percent of electricity demand in 2020 from renewable sources; and establish deadlines for maximizing production of bioenergy and biofuels in California.
To assist with meeting California's air quality and energy challenges, the NRCS established the California Air Quality Initiative. Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Air Quality Initiative provides technical and financial assistance to address air quality, climate change, and energy conservation resource concerns. Administered by the NRCS, EQIP was reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and awards payment assistance to projects that provide significant environmental benefits. The practices eligible for payment assistance and the environmental score is calculated based upon ranking criteria developed with input from Local Work Groups, Stakeholders, and the State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).
The NRCS Air Resource Concerns are:
Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
Respirable particulate matter (PM10)
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5)
Greenhouse Gases and Carbon Sequestration
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Nitrous Oxide (N20)
The Energy Conservation Resource Concerns are associated with inefficient use of energy in farm and field operations, which increases dependence on non-renewable energy sources that can be addressed through improved energy efficiency and the utilization of on-farm renewable energy sources:
Inefficient Energy Use – Equipment and Facilities
Inefficient Energy Use – Farming/Ranching Practices and Field Operations
NRCS Resource Concern Information
Note: Some of the following documents require Acrobat Reader.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Energy and Air Quality Conservation Activity Plans
A Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) is developed by a USDA NRCS Technical Service Provider to assist producers with identifying the applicable conservation practices needed to address specific natural resource concerns. These plans are specific to certain kinds of land uses and include developing management plans that address energy or air quality concerns. With a CAP, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices.
These documents require Acrobat Reader.
122-Agriculture Energy Management Plan-Headquarters (AgEMP) (PDF; 142 KB)
A detailed documentation of energy consuming components and practices of the current operation, the previous year’s on-farm energy consumption, and the strategy by which the producer will explore and address their on-farm energy conservation concerns, objectives, and opportunities.
124-Agricultural Energy Management Plan-Landscape (AgEMP) (PDF; 102 KB)
Contains the strategy by which the producer will explore and address producer/grower on-farm energy savings and opportunities on the working land (crop, forest, pasture, range).
126-Comprehensive Air Quality Management Plan (CAQMP) (PDF; 97 KB)
These plans assess practices and strategies adopted by agricultural operations to address environmental concerns directly related to air quality and atmospheric change.
Conservation Innovation Grants
For assistance, please contact your local Service Center.
2013 EQIP Fact Sheets
West National Technology Support Center
Ted Strauss, Director of Air Quality, Climate Change and Energy Conservation
Phone: 559-252-2191, ext 110
Jacqueline Gaskill, California Energy Conservation Specialist
Johnnie Siliznoff, California Air Quality Specialist
Phone: 559-252-2191, ext 112