Farmers Pressured to Replace Equipment to Meet 2.5 Microns in Exhaust

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Environmentalist are pressuring the California Air Resources Board to mandate all California farmers` to replace farm tractors, trucks and harvesters in the Central Valley that do not meet the higher standard of less than 2.5 microns in their equipment exhaust.

“This proposed mandate is unnecessary,” said Roger Isom, President and the CEO of the Fresno-based Western Agricultural Processors Association. He is very active in pushing back onerous regulations.

Roger Isom, president and CEO, Western Processors Association

Roger Isom, president and CEO, Western Processors Association (source: LinkedIn)

“We’ve done a great job in the last four years replacing equipment on a voluntary basis through the use of incentives,” Isom said. “The incentives were either the state’s Carl Moyer Program where you get the funding through the air districts or through the NRCS EQIP Program.”

“Both of those programs will pay up to 50% of the cost of a new piece of equipment, and while the farmer still has to come up with a big chunk of change, it makes it a lot easier and it’s been very successful,” Isom said. “We got even more reductions that the ARB was looking for.”

“At the last ARB meeting in May, the staff had to provide the board with an update, because they said, ‘Look, we want this PM 2.5 plan to come back in August or September, and we want an update on the progress in May,’ ” Isom explained.

“At that meeting there were two of us from agriculture, but there were more than 30 from the environmental community. Each one of them got up there and said, ‘We want to see a mandatory farm equipment rule. We don’t believe that farmers will do it on a voluntary basis,’” Isom said. “This is despite the fact that we have been doing it very successful, and the ARB agreed.”

The environmental community kept pushing back. We’ll keep you updated on this regulation as it unfolds.