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By Craig W. Anderson 

Trucks regularly visit the Forward Landfill, many from other counties, as the mountain continues to grow.
Photo by Vicky Boyd

 

THE BIG DAY finally arrived: the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors would, after a public hearing, hopefully support the San Joaquin Farm Bureau appeal of the planning commission’s approval of the 2018 Forward Landfill expansion project, allowing the expansion to proceed.

“This is a private dump right next to Stockton Metropolitan Airport, which is the worst possible location for everyone concerned,” said SJFB President David Strecker.

However, Mike Hakeem, of the legal firm Hakeem Ellis and Marengo representing the landfill company, surprised the audience by requesting a 30-day continuance due to an Aug. 22 letter from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that said an expansion of the landfill “would be incompatible with safe airport operations at the Stockton Metropolitan Airport.”

By Vicky Boyd 

THERE’S NO DENYING that San Joaquin County has a growing issue with homeless who need housing, food, personal hygiene, medical and mental health services, and job counseling, say San Joaquin Farm Bureau leaders. Where they have a concern is with an idea being bandied about to convert the now-closed Holt Union Elementary School in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta into a homeless service center and shelter for 1,000-1,500 people.

“The logistics and feasibility of this happening in an ag zone, not only at the Holt School but also in rural farmland, just doesn’t make sense,” said San Joaquin Farm Bureau President David Strecker, who farms row crops in the Delta. “A more viable solution would be west of I-5 and east of Highway 99 in a location in a city or town.”

By Vicky Boyd 

A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT California Air Resources Board deadlines covering older truck and bus diesel engines have come and gone, catching some San Joaquin Farm Bureau members off guard. And more deadlines are looming in the next few years.

“It’s not just me that’s getting hit,” said SJFB Second Vice President Jake Samuel. “I’ve talked to a few other people who are, too. I feel like it’s something that’s been put on the sidelines far too long.”

SJFB Executive Director Bruce Blodgett said he’s also received a number of phones callsfrom members asking about what they should do if they have older, out-of-compliance diesel trucks and face possible fines from CARB. Without replacing older engines with ones that are a 2010 or newer model year, they have few options other than to junk them or sell them to out-of-state buyers, he said.
“I wished I had a better answer than that,” Blodgett said. “But these are state regulations and our mmebers of the legislsture don’t seem to get it.”

By Craig W. Anderson 

EMERGENCY REGULATIONS from Cal/OSHA requiring employers to protect workers from hazards of wildfire smoke became effective July 30 following approval from the state’s Office of Administrative Law.

“Currently this is an emergency regulation but the OSHA Standards Board will be meeting soon to establish a permanent regulation,” said Amy Blagg, chair of SJFB’s Rural Health and Safety Advisory Committee.

She explained the regulation applies to workplaces where the current Air Quality Index (AQI) for airborne particulate matter (PM) is 151 or higher and where employers should reasonably anticipate that employees could be exposed to wildfire smoke.

By Craig W. Anderson 

WHEN THE USDA releases its almond crop forecasts, this is always a very interesting time for almond farmers who grow the 2017 number three crop in San Joaquin County, valued at $362.7 million.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed in its California Almond Objective Measurement Report that the National Agriculture Statistics Service –Pacific Regional Office (NASS/PRO) estimates that the 2019 almond crop will be 2.20 billion meat pounds, down 3.5 percent from the 2018 crop production of 2.28 billionpounds.