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The Opportunities & Challenges of Agricultural Biomass Utilization

​The Opportunities & Challenges
of Agricultural Biomass Utilization

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Agricultural Biomass Conference October 5-6, 2023



The Sacramento Valley Basinwide Air Pollution Control Council hosted the Agricultural Biomass Conference to highlight the opportunity to utilize a ubiquitous, but underused commodity – agricultural biomass. Biomass from agricultural operations in the northern valley is a renewable and reliable resource, continually generated year to year and easily transported, making it ideal for the production of bio-products like biochar and biofuels. Diverting ag biomass for alternative uses instead of burning them would greatly reduce smoke impacts and contribute to clean air goals for northern valley communities. This conference brought key local and state stakeholders together, including agricultural businesses, regulators, researchers and policymakers, to promote discussion and fuel positive action toward ag biomass utilization. Attendees were able to: 

  • Hear from experts on agricultural biomass research and entrepreneurship 
  • Discuss the air quality benefits for alternative uses of agricultural biomass 
  • Take part in key policy roundtable discussions
  • Foster collaboration with other stakeholders during networking sessions

​Conference Location

Hotel Winters

Orchard Ballroom

12 Abbey Street

Winters, CA 95694

Website Link

​Agenda, Speaker Info & Presentations

***Download Agenda Here***    *** Download Speaker List Here***

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Thursday, October 5, 2023

7:30 am   Morning Refreshments & Registration

8:30 am   Welcome & Introductory Remarks

Angel Barajas, Supervisor Yolo County 


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8:45 am   Opening Remarks  

Shannon Douglass, Vice President, California Farm Bureau Federation

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9:00 am   Session 1: Why are we talking about agricultural biomass?

David Shabazian, Director, California Department of Conservation 



Dr. Glenda Humiston, Vice President, University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources

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Alicia Adams, Supervisor, California Air Resources Board


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Cara Morgan, Deputy Director, CalRecycle


Links to shared resources:

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10:30 am   Session 2: Big Picture Challenges & Solutions for Ag Biomass Use

Moderator: Erik White, APCO, Placer County APCD (PRESENTATION)

Dr. George Peridas, Science & Policy Officer, ZuCO2


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Karen Warner, Chief Executive Officer, BEAM Circular

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Virginia Jameson, Deputy Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture

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Dr. Amrith Gunasekara, Director of Science and Research, California Farm Bureau Federation

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David Shabazian, Director, California Department of Conservation



11:45 am   Lunch (Orchard Ballroom)

1:00 pm   Session 3: Legislation & Policy on Biomass 

Sheraz Gill, Deputy APCO, San Joaquin Valley APCD


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Julee Malinowski-Ball, Executive Director, California Biomass Energy Alliance

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Michael Boccadoro, President, West Coast Advisors

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2:00 pm   Session 4: Logistical Challenges & Solutions for Ag Biomass Use

Mitch Sears, Executive Officer, Valley Clean Energy


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Matt Summers, Chief Operating Officer, West Biofuels


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Wayne McFarland, CEO & Chairman, SynTech Bioenergy


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3:15 pm   Field Trip to SynTech Bioenergy / Dixon Ridge Farms

5:30 pm   Evening Networking Reception, Hotel Winters Railroad Courtyard

6:30 pm   Dinner on own (not included in conference registration)


Friday, October 6, 2023

8:00 am   Registration & Breakfast 

8:45 am   Opening Remarks 

City of Sacramento Vice-Mayor Eric Guerra

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9:00 am   Session 5: Opportunities & Successes of Ag Biomass Use

Dr. Somayeh Nassiri, Associate Professor, UC Davis


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Raymond Baltar, Director, Sonoma Biochar Initiative, Sonoma Ecology Center


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Evan Edgar, Principal Engineer and President, Edgar & Associates, Inc.


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Dan Pronsolino, General Manager, Dunnigan Hills Hulling and Shelling

Greg Giguiere, Director of Vineyard Operations, Matchbook Wines

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11:00 am   Session 6: Breakout Session -- Where do we go from here?

12:00 pm   Closing Comments

Chris Brown, APCO, Feather River AQMD

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12:15 pm   Lunch on own (not included in conference registration)

1:30 pm   Basinwide Control Council Meeting (BCC Members; Open to the Public)


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