Ag air quality workbook available at workshops

Farmers throughout the San Joaquin Valley soon will have a new informational workbook to help them comply with new air quality regulations governing dust, or PM10, emissions.

The workbook, "Agricultural Air Quality - Conservation Management Practices for San Joaquin Valley Farms," will be available at several workshops scheduled during late-May and early-June. Morning and evening workshops will be held throughout the San Joaquin Valley beginning May 25. The workshops will address rules for complying with on-farm practices for PM10 emission reductions and new permitting requirements from the passage last year of state legislation by State Senator Dean Florez, SB 700.

The workshops will provide farmers with information they need to comply with upcoming reporting and implementation deadlines. Farmers with 100 acres or more of contiguous farmland must implement Conservation Management Practices Plans (CMP Plans) for the control of PM10 emissions, beginning with a July 1 deadline. The deadline for submitting the completed CMP Plans is Dec. 31.

Likewise, all farms and animal feeding operations must obtain SB 700 Local Permits to operate from the local air district if the facilities exceed half of the Clean Air Act Title V threshold - or 12.5 tons of NOX emissions or more. The deadline to apply for that permit is June 30. Both stationary and portable internal combustion engines of all sizes (excluding tractors) must be included, as well as natural gas and propane engines.

The workbook will be provided to farmers who attend the workshops. Information in the workbook includes details about how to prepare a CMP Plan, citing examples and illustrations of approved on-farm practices. In addition, the necessary CMP Plan forms are included in the workbook. Experts from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District and agricultural organizations will be at the workshops to answer questions and assist farmers with using the workbook to prepare their CMP Plans.

The free workshops will be held in the following locations on selected days:

San Joaquin County (RSVP to San Joaquin County Farm Bureau: 209/931-4931).

Tuesday, May 25 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. San Joaquin County Farm Bureau, Stockton.

Stanislaus County (RSVP to Stanislaus County Farm Bureau: 209/522-7278).

Wednesday, May 26 8 a.m. Westley Firehouse, Westley.

Wednesday, May 26 4 p.m. Stanislaus Fairgrounds, Turlock.

Fresno County (RSVP to Fresno County Farm Bureau: 559/237-0263).

Thursday, May 27 8 a.m. Kerman Community Center, Kerman.

Thursday, May 27 4 p.m. Reedley Community Center, Reedley.

Tulare County (RSVP to Tulare County Farm Bureau: 559/732-8301).

Tuesday, June 1 8 a.m. Tulare County Ag Commissioner's office, Tulare.

Tuesday, June 1 4 p.m. Tulare County Farm Bureau, Visalia.

Madera County (RSVP to Madera County Farm Bureau: 559/674-8871).

Wednesday, June 2 8 a.m. Madera Fairgrounds Van Alan Hall, Madera.

Wednesday, June 2 4 p.m. SFA Portuguese Hall, Chowchilla.

Merced County (RSVP to Merced County Farm Bureau: 209/723-3001).

Thursday, June 3 8 a.m. Los Banos Fairgrounds, Los Banos.

Thursday, June 3 4 p.m. UC Cooperative Extension Service office, Merced.

Kern County (RSVP to Kern County Farm Bureau: 661/397-9635).

Tuesday, June 8 8 a.m. UC Coop. Extension Conference Room, Bakersfield.

Tuesday, June 8 4 p.m. Veterans Hall, Wasco.

Fresno County (RSVP to Fresno County Farm Bureau: 559/237-0263).

Wednesday, June 9 8 a.m. Harris Ranch Restaurant, Coalinga.

Wednesday, June 9 4 p.m. Fresno County Farm Bureau, Fresno.

Kings County (RSVP to Kings County Farm Bureau: 559/584-3557).

Thursday, June 10 8 a.m. Kings District Fairgrounds, Hanford.

The workshops are hosted by Agriculture Improving Resources (A.I.R), a coalition of agricultural and governmental agencies formed in 2000 to help educate farmers and ranchers about air quality issues.

Questions on the workshop should be directed to Fresno County Farm Bureau Executive Director Karla Kay Fullerton at (559) 237-0263, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association Vice President Roger Isom at (559) 252-0684, or Nisei Farmers League President Manuel Cunha at (559) 251-8468.

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