Newsletter of the Western Agricultural Processors Association
Board of Directors
Volume 5, Issue 12
USDA ARS Tours Nut Hulling and Processing
Working with the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA), the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) toured several nut
hulling and processing facilities to discuss processing research opportunities. Dr. Derek
Whitelock, from the USDA ARS Research Laboratory in Mesilla Park, New Mexico toured
Travaille & Phippen’s almond huller/sheller
and processing operation in Ripon, Barton
Casey D. Creamer
Director of Environmental
& Safety Services
1785 N. Fine Avenue
Fresno, CA 93727
P: (559) 455-9272
F: (559) 251-4471
ARB Reopens Ag Truck Registration
Succumbing to continued pressure, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) is proposing
to make some changes to the Truck and Bus
Regulation to ease compliance. ARB is proposing the following changes:
The opt-in period will be reopened for vehicles
Roger A. Isom
President / CEO
Director of Regulatory
USDA ARS is already working on byproduct
research for WAPA, such as the biodegradable
packaging research using almond hull and
shell, and walnut shell. This also compliments
the biogas research WAPA is conducting with
West Biofuels and UC San Diego on a biogas
plant in Woodland, California utilizing almond
hull and shell, walnut shell and pistachio shell.
Joe Runnels of Valley Harvest discussing almond slicing with
USDA's Derek Whitelock and WAPA's Aimee Brooks
Ranch’s walnut huller in Ripon, Gold River’s
walnut processor in Escalon, Valley Harvest
Nut Co.’s almond processor in Modesto, Sierra
Valley Hulling’s almond huller in Firebaugh,
and Horizon Nut Co.’s pistachio processing
plant in Tulare. This particular lab has focused
on cotton ginning research for years, but has
worked on topics such as almond harvesting
equipment working with Flory Industries.
WAPA believes that some of the topics discussed during this month’s visit can be translated into actual research in the coming year.
to newly register for the existing low mileage
agricultural vehicle extension
The opt-in period will be reopened for vehicles to newly register for the existing low
mileage construction truck extension
The opt-in period will be reopened for vehicles to newly register for the existing PM
The thresholds for the low-use exemption will
be increased for all trucks that are operated a
total of less than 5,000 miles per year, and for
trucks that are designed to perform work
while stationary, the limit will be increased to
200 hours per year
The definition of “NOx exempt” areas will be
expanded to include additional counties including Butte County!
Welcome New Regular Member!
Minturn Nut Company, Inc.
Processors Monthly—Page 2
try organizations, the Western Agricultural Processors
Association (WAPA) submitted comments on the two
draft regulations released under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The two rules WAPA commented
on are the “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption”,
and the “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and HazWAPA Hosts Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen on Tour
The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) ard Analysis and Risk- Based Preventive Controls for Huhosted Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen this past month on man Food”. WAPA focused on the following in the proposed Produce Rule:
a tour of an almond huller, farm and a cotton gin. The
FDA should reconsider which tree nuts are “rarely conAssemblywoman toured the Hulling Company’s almond
huller in Chowchilla including visiting the site of their new
FDA’s list of produce items “rarely consumed raw” should
huller currently under construction. Assemblywoman
reflect the latest research and be able to be updated as
Olsen is the Vice Chair for the Assembly Ag Committee
To take advantage of these changes in compliance, you
must be registered with the online ARB truck registration
program by January 31, 2014. If you have any questions
or need assisting in registering your trucks, please contact our office!
Ron Leach of the Hulling Company explains the almond hulling process to
Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen
and sits on the Select Committee for Ag and the Environment, and the Select Committee on Regional Approaches
to the State Water Crisis. While educating the Assemblywoman on the finer points of tree nut hulling and processing, considerable time was spent discussing the critical
issues facing the tree nut industry including water availability, water quality, air quality and labor. The tour was
a huge success with the Assemblywoman “tweeting”
about her stops along the entire tour! The tour was part
of WAPA’s ongoing program to bring legislators and regulators to our operations to educate about them on the
critical issues affecting our industry.
WAPA Submits Comments on FSMA Rules
After several months of in-depth review, food safety
committee meetings, FSMA briefings, conference calls,
staff meetings, and discussions with members and indus-
consumption patterns change without going through the
The Produce Safety Rule should not apply to exported produce
FDA should clarify the type of documentation required to
demonstrate that produce will be subject to further commercial processing
FDA should revise the proposed rule so that activities that
are low risk, such as hulling, shelling and washing, are considered part of farming, regardless of whether they are
done on the farm where they were harvested or on a farm
under another ownership
FDA should recognize that for many tree nuts, farm activities start when the nuts are picked/harvested and end at
the point at which the nuts leave the huller or huller/
sheller. It is important to note that the huller/sheller does
not introduce the product into commerce
For produce that is not exempt, an exemption for growers
based on size should be as limited as possible
FDA should use guidance rather than rulemaking to specify
some practices, such as water testing requirements
FDA should allow trained workers to switch employers
without needing to be retrained
WAPA’s focus on the proposed Preventative Controls
regulation centered on the following:
Activities performed by hullers/shellers should be considered part of “farming activities” and not subject to section
418 of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act
FDA should support and recognize industry-driven, mandatory programs that afford the same level of public health
protection as the Preventive Control Rule• WAPA supports
FDA’s recognition that the industry is responsible for food
safety and urges FDA to recognize limitations in processing
FDA should recognize that the debris and dust from hulling
nuts does not indicate an insanitary operation
Processors Monthly—Page 3
FDA should allow industry to build off existing HACCP plans
FDA should provide more details around the requirements
of a qualified individual
FDA should require environmental testing for pathogens
when RTE products are exposed to the environment but
allow facilities to develop appropriate testing programs
FDA should not require finished product testing
Comments were due this past month, but we won’t hear
for several months what FDA’s response will be. WAPA
wishes to thank all of our members and our industry partners, including the Almond Board of California for their
input on the comments. We especially want to thank the
Acheson Group, our Food Safety Consultants for their
efforts in this endeavor. For a full copy of WAPA’s comments, please visit our website at www.agprocessors.org.
program to address PM10 emissions from agriculture
that resulted in more reductions in emissions than originally proposed. EPA Region IX Administrator Jared Blumenfeld and Associate Air Director Kerry Drake were
also in attendance with the Administrator. Joining WAPA
was the Nisei Farmers League, the California Grape and
Tree Fruit League, California Citrus Mutual and the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations.
WAPA Comments on California Water Action Plan
The California Natural Resources Agency, State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Food
and Agriculture collaborated on the release of a detailed
draft action plan to help guide state efforts and resources
on one of California’s most important resources, water.
The California Water Action Plan focuses on the reliability
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Visits Valley
of the state’s water supply, the needed ecosystem restoU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administra- ration to bring the water system back into balance, and
tor Gina McCarthy visited Fresno this month, as part of a the resilience of the state’s water infrastructure. In May,
day long visit to the valley to meet with agricultural
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. directed the agencies to
stakeholders. WAPA staff Roger Isom, Casey Creamer
identify key actions for the next one to five years that adand Aimee Brooks attended a special meeting to discuss dress urgent needs and provide the foundation for susair quality issues at Melkonian Farms near Fresno. WAPA tainable management of California’s water resources.
President Isom specifically addressed the success of
Some of the actions are new proposals, such as a greater
“incentive programs” to address air quality issues citing
focus on water recycling for potable reuse. Other actions
the recent success of the tractor replacement program
reflect work that state agencies are already planning or
through the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Disengaged in, such as enhanced conservation measures for
trict. Isom also mentioned the success that happens
urban and agricultural water users, accelerated habitat
when the agencies work with agriculture including the
restoration efforts, and adding water storage capacity.
success of the Conservation Management Plan (CMP)
The plan focuses on ten key actions:
WAPA President Isom speaking to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and EPA
Region IX Administrator Jared Blumenfeld
Make Conservation a California Way of Life
Increase Local and Regional Self-Reliance
Achieve Co-Equal Goals for the Delta
Protect and Restore Important Ecosystems
Manage and Prepare for Dry Periods
Expand Water Storage Capacity
Provide Safe Drinking Water for All Communities
Improve Flood Protection
Increase Operational and Regulatory Efficiency
Identify Sustainable and Integrated Financing Opportunities
The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA)
submitted comments on the proposed plan, and focused
our comments on the priority for additional water storage in the state and expressed concerns over possible
regulation of water use efficiency and groundwater
pumping restrictions for agriculture. A final plan is expected later this year.
Western Agricultural Processors Association
1785 N. Fine Avenue
Fresno, CA 93727
US POSTAGE PAID
PERMIT NO. 2201
COMPRESSED AIR PRECAUTIONS
Compressed air is quite handy, but it can be dangerous if not used properly. Most shop air is under high pressure, often
exceeding 100 p.s.i.. Yet a blast of air under 40 p.s.i. from four inches away can rupture an eardrum or cause a brain hemorrhage. As little as 12 p.s.i. can pop an eyeball from its socket. Air can enter the navel, even through a layer of clothing,
and inflate and rupture the intestines. There are reports that compressed air under 80 p.s.i. struck a small hand would and
inflated the arm, causing shooting pains from the fingers to the shoulder. Compressed air can also cause bubbles of air in
the blood stream. One authority estimates that as little as 4 p.s.i. can rupture the bowels. Directed at the mouth, compressed air can rupture the lungs and intestines.
It can be extremely dangerous to use compressed air to blow dust or dirt off clothing or the body. Horseplay is never
funny when it causes an accident, and fooling around with compressed air can be lethal.
The following guidelines can help reduce the risk of injury when using compressed air:
Examine all hoses, connections, and equipment to see that they are in good condition before turning the pressure on.
Never point an air hose nozzle at any part of your body or at any other person. NO HORSEPLAY WITH THE AIR HOSE.
Never kink the hose to stop the airflow, turn it off at the control valve.
When using compressed air for cleaning, make sure the pressure is no higher than 30 p.s.i.
Always wear eye protection when using compressed air to clean.
Before using compressed air, make sure that dirt will not be blown onto other workers in the area.
Turn off the valve on both the tool and the airline when the job is finished.
When disconnecting two lines, always have a firm hold on both lines.
Always use clean, dry compressed air when attempting to blow out disconnect boxes. Water in the airline can allow
the current to flow through the line into your body, causing electrical shock. Use bleed valves to drain any water out
of the air compressor prior to use around electricity.
Note: NEVER look into the business end of a compressed air device and never point it at any part of the body.