Valley air quality advocates push for clean air and farmers reap the benefits.
It's a warm October day in the valley.
Jamie Holt, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District says, "With the temperature forecast to being the 90's, there's a chance that some of the air quality levels might rise, but right now we're not seeing that."
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is constantly working to improve air quality, and now it's focusing on tractors.
"They're some of the highest polluting, tractors or even diesel equipment that's out there, so we're trying to get the oldest and dirtiest basically off the farm," says Aaron Tarango, Air Control District.
The district wants to get rid of all tractors built before 2002 and replace them with tractors that are more safe for the environment, but for cash strapped farmers, these upgrades aren't always an option."
Tony Alvarado, Fresno County farmer says,"Money is a problem. The tractors are very expensive."
The district is willing to help with roughly half that cost.
Tarango says, "The average cost of a new tractor is roughly about $60,000 and we're averaging about half that cost, we're averaging about $30,000 per grant at this point time."
Monday, the district began taking applications for a tractor replacement incentive program. Hundreds of farmers showed up to take advantage.
Ryan Newton, Lemoore farmer says, "Our tractor's a '96 and it's old, it's worn out and we need to upgrade this year or next year and this is a great way to do that."
Alvarado turned his application in bright and early. He began farming about the same time his 1974 tractor was built, and he's ready for a new one.
"We all need help and this is a great way to get what we need," says Alvarado.
Holt says, "This is a great example of the district coming together to provide valley residents with money to do the right thing."