Funds are in place to help Valley farmers replace older tractors and other farm equipment with newer models which produce much less pollution.
The money will cover half of what a farmer would pay for a new tractor. Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League says $10 million have been added to the $13 million already available for growers around the state. Cunha said, "They are absolutely essential because if we don't do this they're already being so over-regulated they can't pass the cost onto the consumer."
Cunha explained older tractor models are being targeted for replacement. He said, "The non-cleaner engine is the '96 and back and that's what we're trying to do and focus on."
Ed Burton of the Natural Resources Conservation Service says a large number of ranchers and farmers requested assistance this year so more money was made available.
Congressman Jim Costa calls the announcement a win for the Valley economy. Cunha says 11-hundred local farmers qualify for the program but there's not enough funding to help even half of them.