Agricultural Program Information

PEST EXCLUSION - This program provides the first line of defense for California agriculture. Inspections provide protection from introduction of insect and disease pests that may introduced into the state through the movement of plants and plant products as well as other items through normal channels of trade.

PEST DETECTION - This program provides the second line of defense against exotic pests through the early detection of new introductions before they become widely established. Traps are placed in primarily urban areas to detect such insect pests as Mediterranean and Mexican fruit flies, Gypsy Moth, Japanese Beetle, and a host of other targeted pest species. Through early detection the likelihood of these pests becoming established in the state is lessened and the cost and environmental impact of eradication is minimized.

PEST ERADICATION - Pest eradication programs are often conducted following the discovery of an introduced pest species. Often these projects are partially or completely under the jurisdiction of the California State Department of Food and Agriculture. However, the Agricultural Commissioner is often involved as the liaison to local government. In some cases, the Agricultural Commissioner has a more active role as is the case in enforcing host free periods for Pink Bollworm, a serious pest of cotton, or in the eradication of Red Imported Fire Ant in Southern California.

PEST MANAGEMENT - The Agricultural Commissioner is charged with the responsibility of managing nuisance pests of agriculture and human health. Many of these pests are recently introduced species that have become established despite the best efforts of the commissioners to keep them out. An example would be the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter that is under intensive control efforts in several southern counties while eradication efforts continue in counties further north. Others are common pests such as ground squirrels, voles, gophers and noxious invasive weeds that can be serious pests of agriculture and urban areas alike. The Agricultural Commissioner also conducts programs to establish and distribute biological controls for troublesome pests. Examples of this activity date back to the earliest efforts to control cottony cushion scale in citrus through the distribution of vidalia ladybird beetle. More recently, there have been successful efforts to distribute tiny wasps to control Ash White Fly, and continuing efforts to control Yellow Start Thistle, puncture vine and lerp psylid through the distribution of bio-control agents.

PESTICIDE USE ENFORCEMENT - This is a complex program that covers far more than its name implies. This program was developed to provide for the proper, safe, and efficient use of pesticides essential for production of food and fiber and for protection of the public health and safety. It also protects the environment from potentially harmful pesticides by prohibiting, regulating or ensuring proper stewardship of pesticides. An important component of the program focuses on agricultural and pest control workers, ensuring safe working conditions, use of proper protective equipment and training for employees who work with or around pesticides. Other components of the program include pesticide use reporting, incident investigations, outreach activities promoting best management practices, and monitoring applications in the field.

SEED CERTIFICATION - Inspections are performed at the retail and wholesale establishments that sell seeds. Samples are drawn for germination and purity testing. Labeling is inspected for compliance with state requirements. Through this program, certification services are also performed for growers and processors, in cooperation with the California Crop Improvement Association.

NURSERY INSPECTION - Through this program the Agricultural Commissioner's staff inspects the growing, propagation, production and sale of nursery stock to assure cleanliness from pests, true variety and vigorous-healthy plants for sale to the consumer.

FRUITS, NUTS, AND VEGETABLE STANDARDIZATION - This program ensures compliance with California's minimum standards regarding quality and marketing of all produce commercially grown and/or marketed in the state. Direct Marketing regulation and Organic law enforcement are part of a program that provides for local protection to growers, marketers and consumers.

APIARY INSPECTION - A program ensures that emphasizes the registration and site location of honeybee colonies in the county. At the request of beekeepers or growers, the Agricultural Commissioner's staff inspect colonies for strength and health to ensure effective pollination.

CROP STATISTICS – As required by the California Food and Agricultural Code, the Agricultural Commissioner compiles and records information in the annual crop report regarding the gross production and value of the county’s commodities. Various research institutions, schools, banks, agencies and businesses use this valuable information to the benefit of the local economy. Also, disasters to agriculture are surveyed and the information collected is used by other agencies offering disaster relief. Statistics promote and protect the continued production and prosperity of agriculture in California.