California Farm Bureau leads group urging U.S. Senate to include successful air quality program in new federal farm legislation.
Source: California Farm Bureau Federation news release
Calling it a unique opportunity to improve air quality and assist in stewardship of natural resources, a coalition of groups led by the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Nisei Farmers League urged the U.S. Senate today to retain a successful air quality program in new federal farm legislation. The program, which is not included in the version of the farm bill headed to the Senate floor next week, helps farmers implement air quality projects to meet federal, state and local regulatory requirements.
California, Arizona, Texas and other states benefit from the Air Quality Initiative in the 2008 Farm Bill. In California alone, more than 1,100 farmers and ranchers partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service on projects that reduced emissions an estimated five tons per day—equivalent to removing more than 408,000 cars from California roads.
"We’ve seen tremendous success from the program and it was so popular that NRCS was able to fund less than one-fifth of the applications it received," California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. "We still have important work to do in improving air quality, and farmers and ranchers remain ready to help."
The farm coalition said retaining the Air Quality Initiative in the 2012 Farm Bill should be a priority, so more farmers and ranchers can participate. The coalition noted that the program prioritizes money for areas of the country with the highest air quality concerns, thereby using federal funding strategically to provide the most benefits for the environment, public health and stewardship efforts by farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
"California farmers have shown through their actions that they are eager to implement air quality programs into their businesses," said Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farmers League. "We urge the Senate to capitalize on this enthusiasm and interest, and support farmers and ranchers in their pursuit of continuous improvement."
In addition to the California Farm Bureau and the Nisei Farmers League, other members of the coalition include African American Farmers of California, Agricultural Council of California, American Pistachio Growers, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Associated California Loggers, Association of California Water Agencies, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, California Blueberry Association, California Cattlemen’s Association, California Citrus Mutual, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, California Forestry Association, California Grape and Tree Fruit League, California Poultry Association, California Rice Commission, California Strawberry Commission, California Women for Agriculture, Far West Equipment Dealers Association, Fresno County Farm Bureau, Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers, Kings County Farm Bureau, Madera County Farm Bureau, Olive Growers Council of California, Raisin Bargaining Association, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Texas Farm Bureau, Tulare County Farm Bureau, Ventura County Agricultural Association, Western Agricultural Processors Association, Western Plant Health Association, Western Growers and Western United Dairymen.