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Ag Operations

Agricultural Operations & Air Quality Permits

Historically, agricultural operations in California were not required to obtain air quality permits for combustion equipment or animal handling activities. In 2003 California State Senate Bill 700 (SB 700) eliminated this exemption. This change in State law was necessary to correct a conflict with federal law and thereby prevent California from losing federal transportation funds and incurring other sanctions. In addition, in some parts of the state, including the Sacramento air basin, air quality is poor and agricultural activities contribute to the problem. Poor air quality harms public health - causing and/or exacerbating asthma, respiratory illness, heart and lung disease, and early mortality.

​Who needs a permit?

The following agricultural sources are required to obtain a permit from the Sac Metro Air District:

Agricultural facilities that have actual emissions equal to or greater than any of the following:

      • VOCs:    12.5 tons per year
      • NOx:      12.5 tons per year
      • SOx:       50 tons per year
      • PM10:   50 tons per year
      • CO:         50 tons per year
An agricultural operation may have actual emissions that exceed the above thresholds if it is:
  • Farming operation with 350 or more contiguous acreage irrigated using internal combustion engines, or
  • Dairy or feedlot operation with 1,954 or more cattle, or
  • Broiler, laying hen, or turkey ranch with 130,211 or more birds

These emissions estimates are based on assumptions (e.g., crop water usage factors, well depths, emission factors, and equipment usage) that may not be accurate for all farms.  To officially determine whether or not your farming operation will require a permit, the Sac Metro Air District must perform a calculation of the emissions.

Agricultural facilities that have the potential to emit equal to or greater than any of the following:

  • VOCs:    25 tons per year

  • NOx:      25 tons per year

  • SOx:       100 tons per year

  • PM10:   100 tons per year

      • CO:         100 tons per year

To determine whether or not permits are required,  the potential to emit may be calculated using the Title V Calculation Form.

 Any confined animal facility that maintains on any one day any one or more of the following:

      • 1,000 or more milk-producing dairy cows;
      • 3,500 or more beef cattle;
      • 7,500 or more calves, heifers, or other cattle;
      • 100,000 or more turkeys;
      • 650,000 or more chickens other than laying hens;
      • 650,000 or more laying hens;
      • 3,000 or more swine;
      • 15,000 or more sheep, lambs, or goats;
      • 2,500 or more horses;
      • 650,000 or more ducks;
      • 30,000 or more rabbits or other animals Agricultural facilities

Farms that don't meet the criteria above do not need permits from the Sac Metro Air District. However, they do need to register with the Sac Metro Air District all diesel-fired water pumps and generators rated at greater than 50 horsepower (link).

​Emissions Calculations

Preliminary determinations may be made using the above calculation estimates.  However,  to officially determine whether or not your farming operation will require a permit based on emissions, the Sac Metro Air District must perform a calculation of the emissions.

You are encouraged to complete the Permit Applicability Questionnaire and submit it to the Sac Metro Air District for a formal determination for emissions and permit applicability.

Application Forms

Below are the permit application forms for agricultural operations subject to permit requirements. All agricultural operations required to obtain a permit from the Sac Metro Air District must complete and submit the Initial Permit Application form and any other applicable form based on the type of agricultural operation. 

All Agricultural Operations:

Additional Source-Specific Forms:

  • Broiler Ranches  -  Form CHK100
    • Emission Mitigation Plan  -  Form POL-EMP
  • Cattle Feedlots  -  Form COW100
  • Dairy Farms  -  Form DAI100 
    • Emission Mitigation Plan  -  Form DAI-EMP
  • Turkey Ranches  -  Form TKY100
    • Emission Mitigation Plan  -  Form POL-EMP

Equipment-Specific Forms:

  • Crematories/Incinerators  -  Form AIN100
  • Gasoline Storage Tanks  -  Form AGT100
  • Portable Internal Combustion Engines  -  Form EPP100
  • Silos  -  Form  ASL100
  • Stationary Internal Combustion Engines  -  Form ESP100
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