Pesticide spraying field
Tractor spraying pesticides on field. Photo By Fotokostic /

Press Release Provided by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation

In March, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Department of Food and Agriculture launch a broad new work group to accelerate the systemwide adoption of safer, sustainable pest control practices.

The 26-member Sustainable Pest Management Work Group includes farmers, community members, university researchers and representatives from commodity groups and the pesticide industry. They are charged with identifying pathways to minimize the use of toxic pesticides and expand the use of integrated pest management practices; better protect public and environmental health; and engage, educate and promote collaboration to achieve these goals.

“Transitioning away from toxic pesticides requires us to speed up the development of effective alternatives,” said CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. “By giving our farmers a suite of integrated pest management tools, we can better protect farmworkers and some of California’s most vulnerable communities. This dynamic task force will give us the roadmap to achieve this bold vision.”

“California agriculture is recognized not only for its quality and quantity, but also for the sustainable, innovative, forward-thinking way it is grown,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Our farmers have been leaders in adopting integrated pest management and partnering with universities and technical assistance providers to meet our high standards for food, environmental and worker safety. This work group represents a broad array of perspectives to inform the next decade of research and development investment and new partnerships to continue the production of nutritious, delicious food and high quality agricultural products with the least impact to our surrounding communities.”

Funded in last year’s budget, the group’s work will build upon the recommendations of the Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group whose 2020 report identified alternatives to the hazardous insecticide and outlined actions to further support agriculture and the health of local communities, farmworkers and the environment. A new status update details additional actions DPR has taken based on the 2020 report, and how DPR and CDFA are working together to provide additional funding to the University of California and California State University to expand integrated pest management research and education. California prohibited virtually all uses of chlorpyrifos as of Dec. 31, 2020.

The Sustainable Pest Management Work Group is part of the State’s larger commitment to accelerating the transition away from hazardous pesticides. To support the move, Governor Newsom is proposing to fund additional support for the transition by replacing the current flat-fee mill assessment on pesticide sales with a new risk-based tiered mill assessment, where higher toxicity pesticides are assessed a higher fee.

The additional revenue will fund enhanced integrated pest management (IPM) programs, including funding for UC Cooperative Extension and CSU Agricultural Research Institute to develop alternatives to toxic pesticides and support grower adoption of IPM; strengthen enforcement and air monitoring; and increase community engagement, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

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