California law designates the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) as the agency responsible for delivering an effective statewide pesticide regulatory program. The Legislature also delegated local administration of pesticide use enforcement to county agricultural commissioners (CACs), governed by state laws and regulations and DPR’s guidance. CACs use DPR's statewide authority to assist in planning and developing county programs.
The size and diversity of California agriculture and the state’s large population (many living near agricultural fields) require a more complex partnership between state and local pesticide regulatory authorities than anywhere in the nation. Other states have a relative handful of inspectors, employed by the state’s lead pesticide agency to conduct pesticide enforcement. California stands apart with its agricultural commissioners and their combined staffs of approximately 280 inspector-biologists who serve as the field enforcement agents for federal and state pesticide laws and regulations.
In accordance with the states pesticide regulatory program,Tehama County's Agricultural Commissioner (TCAC) regulates pesticide use to ensure applicators comply with label directions and pesticide laws and regulations. TCAC staff conducts inspections to prevent misapplication or drift, and possible contamination of workers, the public and the environment. TCAC biologists also enforce regulations to protect ground and surface water from pesticide contamination, and protect endangered species and other wildlife. To do this, our office may work with other regulatory agencies, such as California Department of Fish and Game and regional water boards and the State Water Resources Control Board.
TCAC inspects the operations and records of growers, nonagricultural applicators, agricultural and structural pest control businesses, pest control dealers, agricultural pest control advisers, farm labor contractors and government agencies to assure compliance with worker protection standards and other pesticide safety requirements. We certify private applicators, issue restricted material permits and operator identification numbers, train field workers, and conduct outreach to the public. Certain pesticide applications, such as aerial applications and soil fumigations with restricted materials, require TCAC Staff to provide extra regulatory oversight to reduce potential hazards. In addition, our staff oversees pesticide use reporting, promotes best management practices and monitors applications in the field.
Arguably, the TCAC’s most important responsibility is investigating complaints and illnesses. All reported pesticide-related complaints and illnesses are investigated by the commissioner. TCAC biologists interview affected parties, other witnesses, and employers if the incident occurred at work. As part of the investigation, a TCAC biologist may take a residue sample for laboratory analysis. If the CAC determines a violation occurred and the law was broken, the commissioner takes a compliance or enforcement action.