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Texas farmers and ranchers encouraged to “go green”

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is pleased to announce $5 million is now available to help farmers and ranchers improve production efficiency and air quality by upgrading their farm equipment through the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/implementation/air/terp/index.html (TERP). TERP, operated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/implementation/air/terp/index.html (TCEQ), provides financial assistance to replace older diesel or gasoline-powered engines, thereby reducing harmful air emissions.

“A greener Texas is a cleaner Texas, and that’s why I’m excited we’re greening our state in two ways – producing agricultural goods and reducing air emissions,” Commissioner Staples said. “We are pleased to partner with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and are grateful for their commitment to help our agricultural producers do their part to keep Texas air clean.”

To qualify, applicants must be in an eligible county designated by TCEQ for air quality improvement. These eligible applicants could receive reimbursement of up to 80 percent of the cost to replace a qualifying vehicle or up to 100 percent of the cost to replace an emissions-producing engine that also meets certain criteria.

The application deadline is Feb. 20, 2009, and to assist potential applicants in determining eligibility and completing applications, TCEQ is now hosting grant workshops across the state.

“Air quality is an important issue and one in which all Texans have a stake,” Commissioner Staples said. “This creates a win-win for the agricultural producer and the environment because the farmer and rancher can upgrade to newer, more efficient equipment while reducing air emissions. At a time when each dollar counts, this program will make a difference.”

For more information about the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, including eligibility requirements, workshop dates and applications, visit www.tdagrants.org or call TCEQ at (800)-919-TERP (8377).

Eligible counties for this grant cycle include: Bastrop, Bexar, Brazoria, Caldwell, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gregg, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Liberty, Montgomery, Orange, Parker, Rockwall, Rusk, Smith, Tarrant, Travis, Waller, Williamson and Wilson.

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