As 2011 kicked off this past weekend, so did the Tier 4 laws, which are federal regulations mandating emissions from tractors. Though farmers should benefit from higher crop prices in 2011, equipment dealers now face the challenge of selling machinery that is about 10 percent more expensive during an economic crisis, the Associated Press reports.
Having become stronger since the mid 1990s, the Tier 4 laws mandate the same requirements for off-road equipment and construction machinery. Emissions from that machinery with those engines runs the risk of endangering breathable air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
While the agricultural industry has enjoyed strong returns this season, some farmers own tractors or other machinery that do not need to be replaced for more than 20 years. Thus the Tier 4 laws impose a financial burden many industry insiders are disdainful about accommodating.
If they do acquire the new machinery that adheres to the restrictions, farmers are reselling or trading in the machinery holding engines that violate the new laws so someone else can use them and emit toxic fumes.
Newly manufactured tractors that meet the emission requirements range in price from $100,000 to $300,000.
Environmental groups, which typically are vocal when expressing support for environmentally friendly measures, have not been as animated thus far.
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