This web page has been designed to provide resources to those interested members of the community, farmers and growers who want to understand the interplay between agriculture and air quality.
What is Agricultural Burning?
§80150 of Title 17 specifies the special requirements for the open burning in agricultural operations in the growing of crops or rising of fowl or animals. This section specifically requires the ICAPCD to have rules and regulations that minimize smoke from agricultural burning. The agricultural core of Imperial County, where the field burning takes place (about one fifth of the countryside), is a trapezoid area about 30-35 miles from north to south. This intensely cultivated zone lies directly south of the Salton Sea and extends south to the international border with Mexico. The east to west dimension of this agricultural area is about 25 miles at the north end and about 30 miles along the border.
Like many other industries, agricultural operations take pride in innovative and cost effective practices which help improve air quality. Currently, all agricultural operations 40 acres and above are required to develop and implement a Conservation Management Plan. To help agricultural operations the Air District published the 2012 Agricultural Air Quality Conservation Management Practices handbook.
Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations sets forth the guidelines which establish the principal protocols for agricultural and prescribed burning. Recent improvements to the Smoke Management Plan (SMP) for Imperial County were approved by the California Air Resources Board on June 10, 2010. The improvements to the SMP were developed through a direct collaboration between the Agricultural industry, the private and public sectors. Of particular interest is the voluntary implementation of the Good Neighbor Policy which is found under appendix 10 of the SMP and is unique to Imperial County. Click here for a Spanish version of the Good Neighbor Policy.