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Air Quality

California Air Quality Programs

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Each fiscal year, NRCS applies financial and technical assistance through the EQIP Air Quality Initiatives. Under the Agricultural Act of 2018, the Secretary shall provide eligible producers with technical and financial opportunities to address serious air quality concerns from agricultural operations and help meet regulatory requirements. 

To address the air quality concerns, financial assistance priority is targeted towards the plan land units located within air basins that encounter significant air quality resource concerns based on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “nonattainment” designations for Ozone and Particulate Matter.  These areas experience ambient air pollution levels that persistently exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards established by the Clean Air Act. The EPA Nonattainment Area for Criteria Pollutant website reports the areas of the country that meet or violate air quality standards.

The EQIP Air Quality Initiatives implemented in California are the following:

  • The National Air Quality Initiative 
    The conservation treatment is the removal from service and permanent destruction of an in-use diesel-powered diesel engine that powers and self-propels an off-road mobile agricultural vehicle or equipment and replaced with a new “like” equipment powered by a diesel engine meeting current model-year or Tier 4-Final emission standards.  Significant emission reduction benefits of ozone precursors and particulate matter are achieved when high-polluting engines and equipment are retired earlier than through normal turnover and replaced with new off-road mobile equipment powered by the cleanest emissions-certified diesel engines available.  The conservation practice lifespan is 10 years.
  • The California Air Quality Initiative for Ozone and Particulate Matter
    The conservation treatments under this initiative are designed to help agricultural producers support management practices that offer air quality improvements and meet regulatory requirements.  These practices may also reduce greenhouse gases and promote carbon sequestration and soil health.  Implementing conservation practices that reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particulate matter (PM) emissions from agricultural sources helps achieve and maintain the health- and welfare-based air quality standards.  These management practices will typically offer a one-year practice life.  Please refer to the program description that lists the applicable management practices.
  • The California Air Quality Initiative for Agricultural Irrigation Engines
    Emission reduction benefits are achieved when a higher-pollution agricultural irrigation pumping plant engine is removed from service, permanently destroyed, and repowered with a with a new electric motor or a new diesel engine certified at Tier 4-Final emissions standards.  Repowering to a new Tier 4-Final diesel engine will reduce ozone precursors and particulate matter emissions.  Repowering to a new electric motor will essentially eliminate air pollution emissions at the source. This fund pool does not apply towards other irrigation system improvements to the pumping plant, such as the pump, plumbing, variable frequency drives, appurtenances, and protective structures. Other funding opportunities like the WaterSMART or Water Conservation programs may be available for pumping plant improvements. The conservation practice lifespan for in-use engine repowers is 10 years. 

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.

Additional Information

  • California Environmental Quality Incentives Program
    Provides general information on the EQIP program and lists the national, landscape, California, and locally-led initiatives.
  • Field Office Technical Guide
    Is the primary scientific reference used by NRCS in conservation activities.
  • 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.

For assistance, please contact your local Service Center.

EQIP Air Quality Fact Sheets


Ted Strauss, California Air Quality Conservationist
Phone: (559) 490-5129



Updated: 07/09/2020