Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) held a Cap and Trade Forum last week in Fresno to discuss how the state cap and trade regulation is being implemented. The Forum gave stakeholders, including Ag Council and its members, an opportunity to raise concerns about the regulation and encourage support of actions that will help the ag community. Ag Council was a sponsor of the Forum.
Two Ag Council members spoke at Perea’s Forum last week to provide stakeholder input. Dino Giacomazzi, a dairyman with Land O’Lakes, and Karri Hammerstrom, a peach grower, who is a member-owner with the California Canning Peach Association.
Giacomazzi spoke about the significant investments Land O’Lakes has made in order to meet current regulations, which exemplifies efforts being undertaken in the Central Valley.
He said, “Land O’Lakes has invested heavily in the latest technologies making our manufacturing plants more efficient. We invested over $4 million dollars on a new boiler and steam system since 2009. It includes ultra-low emissions burners, predictive emissions modeling and complex condensate return systems. Land O’Lakes converted two of our drying plants from natural gas fired to steam heated since 2009 in an effort to reduce emissions and make a higher quality, more marketable product. Even though these technologies are some of the most advanced available, they are now not adequate when measuring our emissions versus AB 32.”
Hammerstrom spoke about the substantial trade pressures on California crops. She said, “Agricultural products are very sensitive to low-cost competitors in domestic and international markets. The California Department of Food and Agriculture reveals that, of the top 10 commodities in our state, over half are exposed to international trade issues.”
Food manufacturers are a key downstream partner for farmers–who would not have a ready market for their crops without the food manufacturers. As a result, both Giacomazzi and Hammerstrom expressed support at the Forum for Ag Council’s ongoing effort to move food manufacturers from the medium emissions leakage to high emissions leakage category under the cap and trade regulation. Such action would help minimize the cost impacts on California’s food manufacturers, thereby alleviating some of the negative effects of the regulation on our agricultural community.