Air rule could force change at farms

CALIFORNIA - Hundreds of animal farmers across the San Joaquin Valley will have to change how they do business if officials adopt a new air-pollution regulation next week.
calendar icon 12 June 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
The new rule requires farmers to adopt new practices in order to reduce the release of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. In the Valley, VOCs generally come from decaying animal manure, which combines with nitrogen oxides from farm tractors and domestic vehicles to make the Valley one of the dirtiest and deadliest air basins in the country.

The new regulation applies to both swine and dairy farms but is likely to cause a bigger impact among the San Joaquin Valley's 1.5 million-head dairy industry. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District votes on the rule, which applies to the 230 dairy farms with more than 1,000 cattle, next week.

Because dairy farmers have never faced clean air rules before, some say it's a new era for the industry.

"We've moved into a new world of regulatory requirements, so it's not going to be business as usual," said Kevin Abernathy, a spokesman for the California Dairy Campaign.

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