Funding available for local farmers, businesses switching to 'green' machines

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As California moves to using more zero-emission vehicles and machinery, millions of dollars in new funding will make it easier for local farmers and businesses to make the switch.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced over $11 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding to partners throughout California, including the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District. Combined with private resources, about $20 million is now available for clean diesel incentives in the Valley.

"What we create pretty much stays with us most of the time. We live in a Valley under a pressure of weather all the time and a good example of that right now is wildfire smoke comes in and it lingers," said Heather Heinks of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. "There's a lot of heavy-duty sources in our valley and the businesses in our valley are already regulated more than any other area in the entire U.S."

Incentive cash is available through the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for those who upgrade yard hustlers and tractors to be clean diesel. Up to 60% of the cost of new green machinery could be granted.

Ryan Jacobsen from the Fresno Farm Bureau says it's an opportunity to make the switch as California moves further towards clean diesel.

"For those farmers that are able to participate in this program, it is truly a benefit for them because it does make a substantial difference for them trying to accelerate that changeover on their fleet," he said.

Daniel Hartwig from Hartwig Brothers Farms says it's a chance at a big payoff for small businesses.

"For a smaller operation, the price of a new tractor might be everything that you made in that year and then some," said Hartwig. "So programs like this again just give you that opportunity that you might not otherwise have."

But incentives aren't exclusive to equipment at farms and warehouses. The air pollution control district says most people can find a way to get paid for reducing emissions.

"Lawnmowers are considered an electric vehicle. We can get you funding for that," said Heinks. "Definitely consider going gas. Maybe no burning in your home anymore to heat your home."

For more information on how you can take part in incentive programs through SQVAPCD, click here.
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