Air Quality

Arvin, CA: Oil extraction alongside agricultural contributors such as concentration of dairy operations cause Kern, County to rank among the counties with the worst air quality in the nation according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Arvin, CA: Oil extraction alongside agricultural contributors such as concentration of dairy operations cause Kern, County to rank among the counties with the worst air quality in the nation according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports that though “population growth and increased road traffic are central, the role of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley also plays a role in why the region has not improved its air quality.” On-farm operations emit 21 percent of ozone- forming gases in the San Joaquin Valley, and more than half of direct emissions of particulate matter come from activities associated with agriculture.  Both row-crop agriculture as well as animal and dairy confined feeding operations play a significant role in the production of short-lived climate pollutants that pose the greatest immediate risk to both human health as well as short term climate-change vulnerability of our planet.

As climate-change study progresses, the scientific community is ever more aware of the role of the entire food system, from seed to plate, in contributing a staggering percentage to greenhouse gas emissions. In spite of this, agriculture also holds many potential solutions and can assist in reaching California’s climate goals and greater stability of the relationship between population and planet. A wealth of international science speaks to the potential of small- scale agriculture and agroecology in sequestering climate-warming CO2 back in the soil, improving local air quality outcomes, and improving chances for disaster resilience. CAFA advances policy around the transformation of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley as the catalyst for improving air quality and other acute environmental equality outcomes while moving our region towards climate stability.