Even though only a small amount of straw is burned each year, special conditions must also be met.
The Sacramento Valley's atmosphere is examined each day and farmers work cooperatively with local air agencies to schedule and prioritize burning. This concept of "burning smarter" is a direct result of a partnership between the rice industry and air quality agencies, ensuring that all burning is based upon scientific knowledge of meteorology. The ultimate goal is to enable growers to burn a small amount of straw for disease-control purposes, while not impacting the regional air quality experienced by residents and visitors of the Sacramento Valley.
The industry (California Rice Commission and Rice Research Board) contributes substantially to this program by owning and operating an essential air quality monitoring network under an annual contract with WeatherNews. Recently, the Air Recources Board (ARB) and local air districts have begun to cost-share this program with the California Rice Commission. Information from this program, along with other sources, is used by the ARB to make critical burning decisions for the burning of all types of agricultural waste in the Sacramento Valley.