At a workshop last night, the environmental community blasted the oil and agricultural industries for not doing enough to clean up the air. To make matters worse, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) failed to recognize the accomplishments that agriculture has made to clean up the air and the efforts that agriculture has made to find new solutions for reducing emissions. Those new efforts include the significant Cap & Trade funding for agriculture, the efforts to create a second-generation AG ICE program to electrify ag pump engines, the research and development of biogas solutions, and the most recent investigation of incentives to replace tractors, harvesters and all-terrain vehicles.
There was particular attention to almond harvesting, including one attendee who blamed the recent passing of their father-in-law on an almond harvesting operation that blew dust on their house. The Association commented that research is underway by the Almond Board to look at low dust almond harvesters, and there is an incentive program to replace low dust harvesters with NRCS, and one under development by the SJVAPCD. ARB did announce there will be a rule regarding tractors that is based upon incentives, but has backstop dates by which this equipment will need to be replaced. ARB did not provide those details at this meeting stating they are still under development. It is clear that the situation is growing worse as we head into the last few months of plan development with adoption slated for December. Ag will need to be engaged.