During a meeting on Sept. 18, the Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board, which advises the secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), recommended approval of a $150,000 research project to measure emission rates of nitrous oxide gases from fertilizer applications. Nitrous oxide is a major greenhouse gas that reacts with ozone in the stratosphere. The project would be administered by California State University, Fresno.
Additionally, the Board approved an additional $180,000 to fund extra staffing within CDFA to augment the departmentâ€™s efforts to pro-actively address the issue of global warming. Both items will be solely funded by contributions from the fertilizer industry.
â€śWe congratulate the actions by the Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board in addressing this issue,â€ť said Renee Pinel, CEO and president of the Western Plant Health Association. The non-profit trade group â€“ that represents the fertilizer industry â€“ has been working with CDFA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to help answer questions about whether fertilizers are significant contributors to global warming.
â€śThis funding is a great example of the fertilizer industryâ€™s ongoing commitment to pro-active environmental stewardship and represents an important step in agricultureâ€™s ability to accurately determine if any steps need to be taken to mitigate greenhouse gases from fertilizers,â€ť Pinel added.
In 2006, the California Legislature passed the â€śGlobal Warming Solutions Act of 2006.â€ť The initiative requires CARB to develop regulations to reduce greenhouse gases which result from human activity. As a part of the initiative, CARB is reviewing the impact agriculture may have on greenhouse gas emissions and whether regulations would be appropriate to reduce any impacts.