Farm groups praised the State Senate’s ag budget proposal of $180 million for agricultural burning. Yet the provision was not specific to the San Joaquin Valley, which is now subject to a state-mandated ban on open ag burning.

“If we make this open to all air districts, it's only going to slow down that process and really make it unattainable for the San Joaquin air district to achieve the goals it set out,” argued Louie Brown, an attorney for Kahn, Soares & Conway who represented various ag groups.

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Brown said the budget package contained money for the ag burning issue because the Air Resources Board rejected the district’s earlier proposal for a more gradual reduction in burning.

The money would be guaranteed for just three years. The Western Growers Association asked for this to instead be continuously appropriated.