Iowa Public Television


California Farmers Face Pollution Plan Deadline

posted on December 31, 2004

A USDA spokesman says even if final test results confirm Mad Cow disease, it's unlikely the U.S. will alter the rule allowing Canadian cattle across the border. When the rule takes effect next March 7th, it's estimated that some two million Canadian cattle will enter the U.S. over the next 12 months. USDA says it expects a slight decline in beef and cattle prices as a result ... more on that later.

Meanwhile, California farmers are confronting a different deadline. The government is pressuring producers there to devise strategies for meeting clean air standards ... and time is running out.

California Farmers Face Pollution Plan Deadline A December 31 deadline looms for some 64-hundred large-scale farmers in central California who must submit to a pollution control district their plans to reduce air pollution on their farms.

The farms are blamed for 51% of the tiny specks of dust contributing to smog in the 270- mile-long area between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The dust particles come from diesel exhaust, soot, ash and organic compounds from dairies such as ammonia. Most of the pollution controls center on decreasing dust -- such as watering unpaved roads, switching to organic farming and working at night when winds are lighter.

The dust-fighting requirements are an outgrowth of a 2001 American Lung Association report that said three of the five most polluted places in the nation were in this rural landscape ... and that residents here had the nation's highest asthma rate.

As of early December, two-thirds of the eligible farmers had submitted their two-year pollution control plans.

The latest cleanup plan is to reduce particulate pollution by 23% -- or 34 tons a day -- by 2010. To date, the region has missed a series of federal deadlines to reduce pollution.

Tags: agriculture California farmers Mad Cow news pollution rural