A $700-million Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Bill program that underwrites modernization of farm engines will help the nation's farmers and ranchers further protect our environment and enhance their productivity, according to the Diesel Technology Forum. Currently, two-thirds of all farm equipment is diesel-powered.
Initially, much of the money from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) will be earmarked for California counties that don't meet federal air quality standards. Later, money will be allocated to additional states with rural air quality problems. Farmers can use the money to place new, lower-emitting engines in existing equipment, or to replace older equipment with new or newer models.
Qualifying farmers and ranchers are eligible for up to $450,000 per person during the life of the program, which extends through 2007. Funds may cover up to 75% of the upgrade costs, and if available, state and/or regional money could provide the remaining 25% of the costs.
Potential participants can obtain EQIP program details by visiting www.nrcs.usda.gov and following the Farm Bill 2002 link to the Conservation Programs page.