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Agriculture - Resource Protection

Environmental and Natural Resource Protection

There are many ways that the Agriculture Department seeks to protection the environment and the natural resources that surround us in Siskiyou County.  Various ways are highlight in the following accordion.  The topics in no particular order.

How Ag Protects the Environment & Natural Resources?

Resource Protection - Pesticide Use & Monitoring

The Pesticide regulations of California require safe, responsible handling of pesticides from the time of purchase through transportation, storage, usage and disposal.

The enforcement of the regulations by this department applies to all agricultural, non-agricultural and structural usage. This program provides protection the environment, the public and the employees of the businesses that handle pesticides. To ensure that the regulations are being complied with, we must identify the users and sellers, plus we must track the type, amount and location where the pesticides are being used. The more toxic pesticides are regulated under the restricted material permit program. A Notice of Intent (NOI) to apply the more dangerous pesticides must be given to us at least 24 hours before the application of the restricted materials. This allows us time to inspect the proposed site prior to the application so that we can require additional safety measures as needed.

We also perform audits of all pesticide records associated with licensed applicators, dealers and advisors to ensure compliance with all legal requirements. Commercial application equipment is inspected to ensure safe operating condition. Private application equipment is spot-checked as necessary. Worker Health and Safety inspections are made, as well as crop sampling for pesticide residue analysis. Pesticide investigations are a high priority for us. Whenever we receive a pesticide complaint or if we discover a problem with the use of a pesticide, we immediately investigate concerning the environmental impacts and any related pesticide illness. We respond to pesticide spills and to fires that may be encompassing pesticide storage areas. Whenever a violation is discovered during an investigation, appropriate action is taken.

We believe that training and education in the safe use of pesticides are key factors in eliminating regulatory violations, which benefits everyone.

Resource Protection - Plants & Quarantine Inspection

This program inspects incoming commodities that may be carrying pests we do not want here or in California. Our goal is to prevent non-indigenous, harmful pests from becoming established so that we are more efficient in using our limited resources. Time after time, we have learned that prevention is more economical than eradication once an infestation is established.

The program also promotes a healthy agricultural economy, as California's crops are kept free of exotic pests. Many states and countries enforce various quarantines, which would limit our markets if an exotic pest gets a foothold here in California. This program facilitates the exportation of our products to many areas of the country and beyond. Six staff members are trained and certified as USDA-APHIS Inspectors for issuing Federal Phytosanitary Certificates on commodities for export. In the past, Siskiyou County agricultural products have been exported to various countries such as Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Guam, Honduras, Saipan, and Sweden.

This program is our first line of defense against introductions of new pests!

Resource Protection - Pest Detection

The Pest Detection Program serves as a backup for the pest prevention and quarantine program. The basis premise for this program is early detection of any pest infestation that would be detrimental to our natural resources and environment before it becomes uncontrollable. It also helps to prevent the need for increased pesticide usage.

Resource Protection - Vegetation Management

This program is comprised of two, separate sub-programs. The roadside weed control function fulfills six needs:

  • Reduces cost of road maintenance
  • Increases safety
  • Helps prevent wildlife losses
  • Reduces fire hazards
  • Reduces harborage for crop-attacking insects and diseases
  • Helps prevent invasion of cropland by noxious weeds.

The last two items help reduce pesticide usage and possible quarantine action against a grower's crop.

The second sub-program is Pest Eradication. There are 22 different noxious weed species under eradication throughout the county. The majority of the weed species are listed as `A' rated weeds by the state, and are of limited distribution in the state. There are other weeds under eradication that are common in part of the county but have limited distribution in other parts of the county. Examples are `Yellow Star Thistle' and `Marlahan Mustard’, which are widely spread in Shasta and Scott Valleys, but of rare occurrence in Butte Valley and Tulelake.

Bio-control is used whenever possible in the vegetation management programs. We are always looking for less intrusive means to control unwanted pests.

Resource Protection - Vertebrate Pest Management

The County Agricultural Commissioner is required by law to make rodent baits available to the public. This department offers for sale four different types of baits to help control rodent pests such as:

  • Gophers
  • Two species of ground squirrels
  • Two species of mice.

These rodents cause agricultural/structural damage while also acting as vectors for various diseases that are transmittable to humans. These diseases include Bubonic Plague, rabies and Hanta Virus.

Rodent surveys are done on a routine basis in order to alert growers of a population buildup. Whenever possible, the public and businesses are advised regarding different types of rodent prevention and control, rather than relying solely on the use of baits.

Resource Protection - Nursery Inspection

Inspections are performed on nursery stock entering Siskiyou County and nursery stock produced within the county. These inspections help protect the environment and assure the customer that the plants are free from certain plant pests and that they meet the standards that are required for propagative material. Additionally, to protect the buyer and seller, we must also make sure that the variety or cultivar is accurately stated.

We conduct field inspections of our locally grown nursery stock to assure the cleanliness and identity of the stock. This allows growers to ship their products throughout the state, nation and world.

Resource Protection - Seed Inspection

The inspection of various seeds comprises two different protection areas. The first is designed to protect growers from below standard seed. Seed must be labeled for percentage of germination, kind of seed, percentage of hard seed and weed seed. If the seed does not meet some of these requirements, then there can be:

  • Increased chemical usage on the crop
  • Poor yield
  • Non-acceptability of the crop in the market place

The second area of protection is performed in coordination with the California Crop Improvement Association. This involves the growing of seeds for the certified seed program, which is intended to assure the purchasers of the certified seed that it meets a higher standard of quality and cleanliness. This program also offers more varietal-type seed than is typically available with common seed. In this portion of the seed program, equipment and seed-handling facilities are inspected to assure that there is no contamination at any point in the process. The higher quality of seed produces a crop with fewer problems, which ultimately saves time and money.

Resource Protection - Apiary Inspections

Apiary inspections are made for the purpose of guaranteeing the continued health of the bee industry in California. The general public may not realize the critical part that bees play to agriculture and the diverse food supply we enjoy. We have numerous quarantines in place to protect our bee industry from the importation of out-of-state apiaries. Inspections are made to verify the health and cleanliness of apiaries. Apiary owners, by registering with us, are able to receive notice of pesticide applications within one mile of their bees; therefore, protective measures can be taken.

Resource Protection - Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) helps growers, pest control advisors and home/garden owners apply various mechanical, biological and chemical practices in dealing with pest infestations. IPM emphasizes preventive methods that provide economical, long-term solutions to pest problems while minimizing hazards to human health and the environment.

The first step in handling the requests for assistance in pest management is proper identification of the pest or problem. Often, people feel they have a problem due to the presence of an insect or weed, but after identification, it is determined that the perceived pest is actually beneficial and should not be destroyed.

When advising people on ways to mitigate a pest problem, we view the use of pesticides as a last-resort solution. This department works closely with the farm advisors in the county, so that the best possible service can be given without a duplication of effort.

Agriculture Resource Center

Resource Title Downloadable File Type
2015 Siskiyou County Crop & Livestock Report Download File Report
2016 Siskiyou County Crop and Livestock Report Download File Report
2018 Apiary Registration Download File Application
Certified Farmers' Market Application Download File Application
Certified Producer's Certificate Download File Application
Certified Producers Certificate - Supplemental Page Download File
Nematode Certification Agreement Download File Application
Nematode Certification Application Download File Application
Noxious Weeds Identification and Characteristics Slideshow 2015 Download File Other
Nursery Stock - Fee Exempt Sell License Download File License
Pest Control Advisor County Registration Application Download File Application
Pest Control Aircraft Pilot County Registration Download File Application
Pest Control Business County Registration Download File Application
Public Records Request Form Download File Report
Shelter Visitation Policy Download File Policy
Structural Pest Control Business Branch 2 & 3 Download File Application
Structural Pest Control Business Registration Branch 1 Download File Application
Weed Free Forage Field Inspection Application Download File Application
Weights & Measures Device Registration Form Download File Application