In a visit to California, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson met with state and local business and agricultural leaders, including Don Cameron, the general manager of Terranova Ranch in Helm.

Cameron, a NCC and American Cotton Producers director, said Jackson wanted to know what equipment changes he had made that improved air quality in the San Joaquin Valley. He told her about his three-year program that included replacing 40 natural gas engines with electric engines that are used for pumping underground water and his replacement of multiple tractors with “tier three or four” engines instead of “tier zero” engines.

He also discussed various water conservation measures he employs including a groundwater recharge project involving the use of floodwater when available and his use of drip irrigation on the majority of his crops. He told Jackson, who also was interested in what type of organic crops he produced and the relationship between his organic and transgenic crops, that “we have proven that we can grow both compatibly here side-by-side without any real issues.” Also discussed was the Delta smelt/Endangered Species Act issue and how it is affecting water delivery to the San Joaquin Valley.

Overall, Cameron believes Jackson’s visit was educational and that she was pleased with the efforts to address air quality and water use in the San Joaquin Valley. While there, Jackson also met with growers at J and L Vineyards in Fresno and with local environmental justice activists. Her trip also included a stop in Los Angeles where she held a roundtable discussion with Los Angeles business leaders from the energy sector and the African-American community.

For more information on EPA’s work with the agricultural community, visit: www.epa.gov/agriculture/.