Air District Lays Mandatory Replacement of Almond Harvesting on the Table

Succumbing to the pressure of having to attain an impossible air quality standard with very little assistance from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) or Federal EPA, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District unveiled a long list of far reaching control measures to reduce PM2.5.  Those measures up for discussion include:


  • Replace all almond harvesters in Valley with latest low-emitting harvester technologies
  • Install PM control technology on larger under-fired charbroilers installed within last 10-15 years (360 out of 1,800)
  • Enhance CMPs for ag operations to reduce directly emitted PM
  • Replace 23,628 older high emitting residential wood-burning devices with cleaner devices
  • Electrify 1,053 ag pump engines in areas impacting peak PM2.5 sites where access to electricity is available
  • Lower NOx limit for container glass plants
  • Lower NOx emissions from various boiler, steam generator, process heaters > 5 MMBtu/hr
  • Lower NOx emissions from various boiler, steam generator, process heaters 2 to 5 MMBtu/hr
  • Install ultra-low NOx flare technology and require additional flare minimization practices
  • Lower NOx emissions from various non-agricultural engine categories
  • Replace 74,912 heavy heavy-duty trucks with upcoming 0.02 g/bhp-hr ultra-low NOx trucks that are 90% cleaner than 2010 trucks recently required by ARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation
  • Replace 110,000 medium heavy-duty trucks with upcoming 0.02 g/bhphr ultra-low NOx trucks that are 90% cleaner than 2010 trucks recently required by ARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation
  • Replace 102,936 light heavy-duty trucks with upcoming 0.02 g/bhp-hr ultra-low NOx trucks that are 90% cleaner than 2010 trucks recently required by ARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation
  • Install 2,622 natural gas fueling stations for deployment of 0.02 g/bhp-hr ultra-low NOx heavy duty trucks
  • Replace 320,000 passenger vehicles with zero-emission vehicles
  • Replace 76 locomotives with new Tier 4 locomotives


The price tag for all of these measures, which the District says need to be done by 2019?  More than $51 billion!  The District staff laid this out today to the Governing Board stating their back is up against the wall, but realizes the above listed measures are too costly and impractical to achieve without incentive monies.  Unfortunately, the District will face federal sanctions unless they can get into attainment of the PM2.5 standard by 2019.  WAPA President/CEO Roger Isom testified before the Governing Board on the issue stating that the almond harvesting and CMP modifications have not yet been proven to reduce PM2.5 emissions and further research is needed.  Isom also pointed out that the almond industry was already proactive on the issue though by working with USDA NRCS to create and implement an incentive program for growers that utilize the lower emission technology.  Isom further expressed concerns with rising electricity prices that may dissuade farmers from switching from diesel to electric, and encouraged the District to help on that particular issue.  Later in the same meeting, the District brought up but did not adopt such “draconian measures” as “no farm days”, “no construction days” and “no drive days” where Interstate 5 and Highway 99 would be shut down.  Again, the District was trying to state the seriousness of the issue while placing boundaries on what can and cannot be done.  The District will have to adopt their PM2.5 plan demonstrating attainment by August of this year. 

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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.).