Open Ag Burning Part of a Series


Open Ag Burning To Phase out

By Mike Stephens with the Ag Information Network

In an unanimous decision, the Air Resources Board (CARB) recently approved a plan to phase out all open agricultural burning by 2025.

Open burning of agricultural materials has started to be phased out in the San Joaquin Valley  chipped materials, a byproduct that needs to be disposed of.

Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, describes some of these hurdles. “Specifically in orchards those materials in most cases were hauled off to a co-generation plant to make energy. The number of those CoGen plants has been significantly declining here recently because they lose their power purchase agreements with the utility companies and therefore they shut down. And so therefore, we lost a very important stream of our ability to send our materials,” Jacobsen said.

Incentive funding is available.

Part of the incentive funding is giving growers the ability to incorporate chipped material  back into the soil, and they’ll pay you some money to do that. In some cases, there is still the desire to haul the material off.

Reincorporating the chips into the soil is being discussed.

“Not only do you have these chips that you reincorporate in the soil, but this comes at a time when we’re experiencing significant drought. You know, these materials don’t break down very quickly without adding water and nitrogen to it,” noted Jacobsen.  “That is definitely a concern for some growers reincorporated. And so for some, they want to continue to find some other avenue for it to remove that wood waste from the field, particularly if it’s maybe for some growers. They just don’t want the wood back in there. But secondarily, it could be diseased wood that becomes an issue as well.”