The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Initiatives Program (EQIP) has created the California Air Quality Chipping Initiative to help San Joaquin Valley growers chip and incorporate or haul off woody debris from orchards removed due to drought. The program has received federal drought relief funds to encourage the practice, which can help control erosion and protect air quality in lieu of burning.
Farmers in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare Counties may be eligible where surface water deliveries have been severely curtailed or suspended due to drought, and no other sources of water are available for continued irrigation. The deadline to apply for cost-sharing funds of up to $154 per acre is June 20. For additional information, go to the NRCS Service Center website to find contact information for your local NRCS.