The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) is in the process of developing a statewide pesticide application notification system. Roger Isom, president of Western Agricultural Processors Association, participated in a DPR focus group session in August and reported on this issue at the 2021 Crop Consultant Conference.
Input from the agriculture industry on this proposal to require notification of a pesticide application is vital, said Isom. He urged all growers and PCAs to voice their concerns about the draft proposal to CDPR. Public webinars on the proposal are being held this month. Isom said the draft regulation would be announced in spring 2022.
Unknown at this time are the questions of who will be notified of a planned pesticide application, when will they be notified, how do they get notified, what products are covered and what application methods are covered.
At this time, it is only a proposal, and details are not decided, but Isom warned that the governor has indicated that notification is a priority for him and $10 million has been directed to develop the proposal.
Isom said this action was triggered by Assembly Bill 617 and an air quality reading in Shafter in Kern County that measured 1,3-D; however, there was no known application within seven miles of the measurement. AB 617, signed by Governor Newsom in 2017, establishes a community-scale emissions abatement program and updates air quality standards for sources that contribute to poor air quality.
Isom pointed out that only three states have some type of notification system for pest control applications: Florida, Maine and Michigan. Monterey County has a program for fumigation application notifications for schools. The public is eligible for notification and it is done five days prior to a fumigation. Currently in Kern County, notification is only for restricted use materials and is only required to growers in surrounding areas of the planned application.
Isom noted that in some instances, anyone is able to sign up for notifications, and in the past, it was found that the majority of those requesting notification did not live in the area of the application. In Florida, those requesting notification must be on adjacent or contiguous property up to a half mile.
Isom said any form of this rule should be statewide, reasonable and justification for those asking to be notified of a pesticide application. Public webinars are being held this month. Written comments can be submitted to CDPR.