Fresno County Farm Bureau and Valley Air District go green with F.A.R.M.E.R program

Vanessa Vasconcelos Image
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Fresno County Farm Bureau and Valley Air District go green with F.A.R.M.E.R program
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Valley growers and the air district are teaming up to bring cleaner air to the region with new technology that's helping reduce emissions and improve efficiency.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's no accident that the Valley Air District and Fresno County Farm Bureau are going green this St. Patrick's day.

" Agriculture is the original green. We've been out there trying to do our part to better the environment," said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen.

The showcase of Clean Ag equipment was a look into the "Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions" or FARMER program.

Zero and near-zero emission Ag equipment was on display -including everything from harvesters and UTVs to electric tractors.

Jacobsen said, "This farmer program is taking those old diesel engines off of farms and replacing them with much cleaner diesel engines on newer pieces of equipment."

With California supplying 2/3 of the nation's fruits and 1/3 of the nation's vegetables-- The Valley became known as the breadbasket of America. Jacobsen says the Valley is *also* the epicenter of Ag technology and finding ways to replace engines, reduce open-air burning and minimize dust.

He said, "Some of it is newer tech on these diesel engines. That does cut down emissions, but we also had examples of zero emissions that are battery operated whether it's UTVs or tractors that are 100% electric."

But it takes green to go green.

"These pieces of equipment were looking at range from $100k to well over a million dollars," Jacobsen said.

The FARMER program made the clean initiative attainable for smaller farming operations with old equipment.

San Joaquin Valley Air District Executive Director Samir Sheikh said, "local funds, state funds, federal funds, that we then match with funds from the grower helps make these projects happen.

Sheikh added, "It's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the clean technology that we're seeing deployed here in this region all across the valley."

Since 2017, investments through the FARMER program, matched by Valley Growers have helped in reducing 185 thousand metric tons of Carbon Dioxide.

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