Industry members have an opportunity to apply for funding for ag burning alternatives to help comply with air quality regulations. The practice of burning woody biomass in the San Joaquin Valley will no longer be permitted by 2025. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has allocated more than $178 million to help producers implement alternatives to agricultural burning. Alternatives include whole orchard recycling, chipping, and shredding. Principal Analyst for the Almond Board of California, Jesse Roseman said that the increased funding allocation is for new and existing incentive programs to help growers adapt to the regulation.
“There’s new funding available for fleet expansion. This is to add to the existing fleet of chipping equipment,” said Roseman. “This is really because, especially some of the smaller operations have had a hard time scheduling or getting that equipment into their orchards. So, this is really to expand that fleet and hopefully just make it an easier process for orchard removals.”
Whole orchard recycling is the most common practice under the orchard removal program. Incentives are available to almond growers within the Valley Air District to chip or shred materials from orchard removals. “For an almond orchard, it covers around $600 per acre if it’s incorporated into the soil and $300 if it’s taken offsite for another beneficial use like mulching or composting. If you’re an operation of less than 100 acres, there is an additional $100 per acre for either of those practices,” Roseman noted.
The ag burning alternatives funding is distributed on a first-come first-served basis. If funding for the incentive programs is exhausted, those who qualify will be added to a waiting list. Applications for the incentive programs are available online. “This is a significant amount of money that’s coming into the District and we really encourage growers and equipment operators to go ahead and apply,” said Roseman.
Listen to Roseman’s interview below.