Mar 11, 2021
Cross-sector work group spurs California’s shift to safer pest management

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.

According to a news release, the 25-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.

“This new group’s work will be an important step in furthering California’s commitment to sustainable pest management and reducing Californians’ exposures to toxic pesticides,” said CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. “Transitioning from toxic pesticides and developing effective alternatives is critical to supporting our farmers and protecting farmworkers and some of California’s most vulnerable and pollution-burdened communities.”

“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.”

The new work group 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, Gov. Gavin 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.

The members of the Sustainable Pest Management Work Group include:

  1. Jenny Broome, Driscoll’s
  2. Don Cameron, Terranova Ranch
  3. Casey Creamer, California Citrus Mutual
  4. Jim Farrar, UC Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  5. Chris Geiger, City of San Francisco
  6. Kim Harley, UC Berkeley
  7. Lisa Herbert, Sutter County Agricultural Commissioner
  8. Nina Ichikawa, Berkeley Food Institute
  9. Dan Kaiser, Environmental Defense Fund
  10. Susan Kegley, Pesticide Research Inc.
  11. Margaret Lloyd, UC Extension – small farm advisor
  12. Suguet Lopez, Líderes Campesinas
  13. Gabriele Ludwig, Almond Board of California
  14. Pam Marrone, Chestnut Bio Advisors, Formerly Marrone Bio Innovations
  15. Nayamin Martinez, Central California Environmental Justice Network
  16. John McKeon, Taylor Farms
  17. Cliff Ohmart, Pest Control Advisor (PCA)
  18. Scott Park, Park Farms
  19. Margaret Reeves, Pesticide Action Network
  20. Taylor Roschen, California Farm Bureau
  21. Sarah Ryan, Environmental Director Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians
  22. Daniel Sonke, Campbell Soup Company
  23. Paul Walgenbach, Bayer
  24. Ron Whitehurst, Pest Control Advisor (PCA)
  25. Houston Wilson, UC Organic Agriculture Institute

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