A program geared at getting growers out of tractors targeted for the trash heap by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and into cleaner-burning technologies is being touted as a means to help growers.
Dubbed the “Trade-Up Program” by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the program will use $500,000 in funding from CARB to help growers purchase Tier 4-compliant tractors.
A big focus will be on harvesting equipment which tends to have a low use.
The goal, according to California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association President Roger Isom is to help those with Tier 2 and 3 equipment trade up to Tier 4 equipment, while at the same time, taking those Tier 2 and 3 tractors and giving them to growers of Tier 0 equipment.
“We’ve been doing well with the incentive programs by staying ahead of regulations,” Isom said.
Here’s how it works:
A grower with a Tier 2/3 tractor would be eligible for a cost match where half of the price of a Tier 4 tractor is paid for through the program. The Tier 2/3 tractor the grower seeks to replace would then be eligible for up to $5,000 in repairs before it is then given to a grower or operation with a similar-size Tier 0 machine.
“This is great for the Tier 0 guy because he gets a free tractor,” Isom says. “The idea with the repairs is to make sure he doesn’t get a tractor that’s going to break down shortly after he gets it.”
Isom recently testified at the air district’s board meeting on behalf of CCGGA and Western Agricultural Processors Association, the two Fresno-based organizations he leads.
“The magic in this program is matching machines by creating a clearinghouse of Tier 0 tractors needing to be replaced,” Isom continued.
For instance, a cotton harvester would need to be matched with another cotton harvester; same for smaller pieces of equipment used in orchards or in row crop operations.
The new program would be funded by $500,000 in Cap & Trade Funds from CARB. The pilot program will go into effect later this summer. CCGGA and WAPA are already lining up growers and equipment for the pilot program. If it is successful, it could lead to a more permanent program.