Republican Assemblymember Heath Flora of Ripon said farm groups would be wasting their time if they tried to argue against climate change: “That ship has sailed.”

Speaking at the Almond Conference on Thursday, Flora added that agriculture should instead embrace the opportunity through carbon sequestration. He is hoping to develop legislation that would add orchards to the carbon registry to receive carbon offset credits.

He referred to a UC Davis study on the benefits of planting trees in urban areas to sequester carbon and said almond growers planting more than 100 trees an acre “don’t get any of those credits.”

With the need to build more homes in the state, Flora suggested a new housing development could offset the carbon footprint by purchasing credits that go to farmers. He also lauded Serena McIlwain, the CalEPA undersecretary for environmental protection, for “an absolute willingness to engage with ag” on such issues.