Smash and recycle program helps clear the Valley's air

FRESNO, Calif.

Tractors removed from Valley farms are harvested for scrap metal. Will Scott's 1989 Massey-Ferguson tractor was cut up and crushed with ease. In exchange for his now ripped apart tractor, Scott received a 2003 cleaner-burning model with an air-conditioned cab.

Scott said, "There's a tremendous amount of small farmers that are on the verge of getting out of the business and a program like this will enable to stay in and also sustain themselves."

The Ag Tractor Replacement program allows farmers like Scott to trade in older, high-polluting models.

EPA Region 9 administrator Jared Blumenfeld explained, "This tractor is about 90% less efficient. It puts 90% more smoke and what we care about is nitrous oxides."

The sight of a John Deere tractor being crushed made farmers cringe but it will be replaced by a newer model which keeps emissions to a minimum.

Valley Air District executive director Seyed Sadredin said the removal of the tractors has helped clean the Valley air.

Sadredin said, "This is the first time in our history that we completed the entire summer season from May to September 21st without a single exceedance of the ozone standard."

Some small farmers can trade in their old tractors for newer but used models. The program also covers about half the cost of a brand new tractor.

Over the past three years the air district and Valley farmers have invested $108 million to replace 1,441 tractors.

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