Congressman Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) and Congressman Jim Costa (CA-20) today announced $9.5 million in additional funding assistance for California farmers seeking to make on farm improvements that will help to improve air quality, water quality or conserve water. These funds will be provided through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“California farmers are faced with the most stringent environmental standards in the nation. These additional funds will help alleviate some of the burden on farmers and will help to improve the environment in the Valley. This is a win for farmers and a win for the environment,” said Congressman Cardoza said.
“This announcement is an important victory for our farmers and the Valley economy,” Congressman Costa said. “Valley farmers have been among the most proactive in the nation at working to improve air and water quality. I am pleased that USDA recognizes the importance of supporting Valley agriculture as we work to continue these efforts.”
The additional funding for the San Joaquin Valley includes $5 million for air quality practices and $4.5 million toward water quality on dairy farms and water conservation. The funding is offered through the 2008 Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
“We are happy to provide this additional investment to help farmers and ranchers conserve and improve California’s air and water quality, and water conservation,” says Ed Burton NRCS State Conservationist. “While this funding will go primarily toward pending unfunded applications, our local offices will continue to take new applications year-round, and offer landowners ongoing conservation planning and technical assistance. The funding adds to the approximately $60 million NRCS has already obligated this year in EQIP conservation contracts.”
Details of the funding include:
- $5 million for EQIP air quality practices to help reduce ozone precursors in the high-priority non-attainment areas of the San Joaquin Valley; primarily for replacing old diesel engines with engines that run 75 percent cleaner.
- $4.5 million in EQIP for water quality and conservation practices in the San Joaquin Valley for increasing irrigation system efficiency and managing dairy waste.
Interested producers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Contact information is available at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=CA.