Last week, Mark Rey, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, visited Fresno, Calif., to announce a new initiative to help San JoaquinValley farmers adopt on-farm practices to improve air quality. The new Air Quality Initiative will assist producers in adopting technologies that lower smog-producing emissions.

The new 3-year program offers technical and cost share assistance through the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. NRCS would oversee the initiative using both conservation technical assistance as well as its Environmental Quality

Incentives Program (EQIP), which shares the cost of structures and practices that farmers undertake to protect natural resources.

 Since the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District will soon be requiring agricultural growers to reduce on-farm emissions of smog-producing Volatile Organic Compounds, there is a heightened need to help producers now to meet the mandate.

For more information, go to: http://www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/airquality.html

Natural Resources Conservation Service