Monday, 15 July 2024

Hajik: New pesticide regulations not enforceable

 

In an interview appearing in the January edition of the Lake County Farm Bureau newsletter, Hajik said, "Once the questions are answered, you will have to get a written recommendation from a licensed pest control advisor if you're going to spray certain insecticides in the dormant season. The question is, we don't know when that season begins and ends. The state needs to define 'dormant season' to make this regulation enforceable."


Hajik notes that different varieties of plants – pears and grapes, for example – have different dormant seasons.


Although he said he believes the regulations were adopted with good intentions, the ag commissioner told county growers at a seminar in December that, as written, there are problems with the DPR policy.


In addition to requiring a signed permit, among factors covered in the regulation are:


– Pesticides cannot be applied within 100 feet of a body of water;


– During application, the wind cannot be more than 10 mph;


– Pesticides cannot be applied if soil moisture is at zero capacity;


– Or, if a storm is forecast that could cause significant runoff is forecast within 48 hours.


"The problem is, we don't know when you're going to be applying it and I don't see us going from place to place to examine the soil moisture," Hajik said to the growers. "So, I don't see how I'm going to be able to enforce this."


The ag commissioner pointed out that dormant oil and biocontrol agents (i.e., Spinosad) are unaffected by the confusion over the new regulation.


"Since almost all dormant-season pesticides are unrestricted, we will be unable to know when they are going to be applied," Hajik explained. "Bu if the materials were restricted and we knew a storm was coming within two days we could turn down the NOI, if we knew the that the soils were already at the saturation point."


He does not expect the dormant season dates issue to be resolved before June of this year, but added that he expects the issue to be discussed at an ag commissioners' meeting in February.


"We'll be discussing it and I will be asking other counties how they're enforcing it," he asserted. "We'll let the growers know if it will be enforced when the questions get resolved."


The new regulation was precipitated by water contamination concerns in the Central California Valley. It was adopted after a period of voluntary compliance failed to prevent traces of organic phosphate pesticide from showing up in Sacramento River water.


"If this doesn't work, the next step is to is to make Diazinon, Lorsban and pytheroids (which are effective against scale insects) restricted,” said Hajik. “The worst-case scenario would be to require me to go out to a site and take soil moisture samples.”


Hajik added, “Eventually, if the problem is not resolved, the offending pesticides could be banned."


E-mail John Lindblom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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