Stephen Birdsall is the county agriculture commissioner, an office he's held for 14 years. He also serves as the county air pollution control officer.
Imperial Valley Press: Do you think it's a conflict of interest to be the agriculture commissioner and air pollution control district officer?
Stephen Birdsall: I'm one of about a dozen in the state that are agriculture commissioners and air pollution control officers.
IVP: Do you think our farmers will eventually be able to farm without burning fields?
SB: We're certainly going to strive for that. There are some needs and necessities to burn, but as technology advances, hopefully we'll discover some new way to reduce agriculture burning.
IVP: Is composting a feasible alternative?
SB: Straw can't be composted readily. I'm not denying that it can happen, but I know it's been tried with straw, and it's just not suitable for composting.