2nd PM2.5 Workshop in One Week

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) a workshop this week on the PM2.5 SIP in Fresno.  This follows right on the heels of the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) workshop less than a week ago.  Again, agriculture is one of the sources listed as a target for further controls.  The meeting began with the SJVAPCD indicating that farming operations make up 23% of the PM2.5 emissions on an annual basis, and 18% during the critical winter months.  As a result, the SJVAPCD identified the following control measures on agricultural operations for consideration:


  • Evaluate further practices that minimize dust from wind erosion and soil disturbances (could include tree nut harvesting)
  • Evaluate all feasible opportunities for additional reductions from Conservation Management Practices (CMPs)
  • Assess economic feasibility of lowering NOx emission limits for ag irrigation pump engines
  • Avoid relaxing prohibition on ag burning
  • Increase funding for incentives to replace ag tractors, pump engines and trucks


The Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom was one of only two agricultural representatives to testify at the hearing.  Isom raised questions on the emission inventory highlighting research that has been conducted in recent years demonstrating that PM2.5 emissions from agricultural operations was insignificant, and this is demonstrated in the information provided by CARB and the SJVAPCD in their own presentations where the monitor used to monitor air quality where measuring less than 2% geological material (dust)!  Isom then made the following points on behalf of agriculture:


  • We oppose any new CMP requirements that cannot be demonstrated through peer reviewed research that significant PM2.5 emissions reductions are achievable, and if so, they are demonstrated to be cost effective.
  • We oppose the proposed Healthy Soils Initiative as an approach until such time as the state can streamline the bureaucracy to an acceptable level and avoid composting operations having to get 4 separate permits from 4 different agencies.
  • We oppose any new regulations on ag irrigation pump engines, since many of these engines were just upgraded to Tier 3 or Tier 4 under the existing regulations.
  • We support incentive funding and support for pyrolysis and gasification technology advancement, and commit to working with the SJVAPCD and CARB on this matter.
  • We wholeheartedly support the use of incentives and commit to assisting the SJVAPCD in securing additional funds to incentivize the replacement of ag equipment


Workshops will continue for the next few months, as the plans moves forward towards adoption in the fall.

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Governor Signs Ag Overtime Bill

Ignoring the pleas of real farmworkers and the agricultural industry, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 1066, the ag overtime legislation. This means that California will have the most stringent trigger of any state in the country for overtime for farmworkers, with 45 states having no overtime protection at all. The Governor signed this bill, supposedly to bring “equality to all workers”, yet taxi cab drivers, commercial fishermen, car salesmen, student nurses, computer programmers, and carnival workers all work without any overtime provisions whatsoever. The Governor signed this ag overtime bill in the same year that minimum wage legislation was also passed that will take California to the highest minimum wage as well as legislation forcing California to adopt additional greenhouse gas regulations for businesses in California. California is the only state in the country subject to such regulations. Today’s signing occurred despite numerous requests by the agricultural industry to meet with the Governor to discuss our concerns. The message is clear. California simply doesn’t care. These provisions will be phased in over the next few years ending with the overtime provisions to be triggered at 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.

In the Beginning As folks transitioned out of cotton and into tree nuts, the industry recognized the need to have active and effective representation at the local, state and national levels. Having enjoyed such effective representation over the years from the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, these folks yearned for the same representation in the tree nut processing industry. Issues such as air quality, food safety, labor, taxes, employee safety, and environmental concerns are at the forefront, and there is a significant need for an aggressive and dynamic Association to lead the industry into the next decade and beyond. In recognition of this, the Western Agricultural Processors Association was created in 2009. The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) shares staff and office space with the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations taking advantage of a unique and opportunistic situation. WAPA is a voluntary dues organization with four shared staff and one dedicated staff person. Regulatory, legislative and legal issues fall under the purview of this new organization for the tree nut processing industry, which includes almonds, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. From air quality permits to conditional use permits, from regulatory hearings on greenhouse gases to federal legislation on food safety, and from OSHA violations to assisting members on hazardous materials business plans, no issue is too small or too large for WAPA. WAPA has assembled one of the best and most capable staffs in the industry, and the results are already starting to show Membership The Western Agricultural Processors Association represents facilities involved in the processing of almonds, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.Membership in the Association is classified as Regular memberships are limited to almond hullers or processors, pecan and pistachio processors, and walnut dehydrators and processors. Associate memberships are limited to any individual or business entity which is not engaged in agricultural processing, but which provides products or services directly related to the agricultural processing industry. WAPA Associate members include, but are not limited to, commodity brokers, accounting firms, and insurance brokers. Organization The Western Agricultural Processors Association is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by its membership.The Board consists of up to 15 members from throughout the state, and throughout the industry.The Board meets on a quarterly basis and conducts an Annual Meeting in the spring of each year.WAPA, in conjunction with the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, conducts a special training school for its members focused on safety.In combination with the school, the Association holds a Labor Management Seminar for all of the managers. Consulting Services In researching and considering the concept of forming a new organization, the Boards of Directors for the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations instructed staff to perform some of the work on a consulting basis first. The point was to determine the workload from consulting and to determine if there was sufficient interest. In November of 2007, the Association began conducting services under consulting contracts for such services as air quality permits and safety plans.The effort has been so successful that demand has progressed outside the tree nut industry into other agricultural processing facilities, including vegetable dehydration facilities, tomato processing facilities, and wheat mills, as well as cotton gins in Arizona.It was determined by the new Board of Directors of WAPA, that WAPA would maintain the consulting services to provide offsetting income to help with the expenses of getting the new organization up and running.Today, WAPA provides for a long list of satisfied clients in the agricultural processing industry, by providing critical services such as air quality, safety, food safety, and environmental issues (Hazardous Materials Business Plan, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plans, etc.).