Agriculture

Pest Exclusion / Quarantine
This program is intended to prevent the introduction and/or spread of those plant pests and diseases which may be detrimental to agricultural crops. Exclusion is the first line of defense against invading exotic pests. If we can keep the pests out of California we won't have to control them. In addition, our Department provides an essential service by certifying shipper's agricultural commodities for compliance with other county, state, and foreign quarantine requirements. This allows our growers products to be shipped throughout the world. Our inspectors are federally-certified to perform this type of phytosanitary inspection and certification. We also inspect incoming shipments of household goods and nursery stock for disease, weeds and insect pests (certifying commodity shipments).

Pest Detection
The purpose of this program is to find invading exotic pests that are detrimental to agriculture before they become established. This goal is primarily accomplished through insect trapping and field surveys. Most people have seen the various types of traps we place in fruit trees to detect insect pests that may have entered our state and county. Immediate steps will be taken to delimit the infestation and control or eradication of exotic pest such as Medfly, Japanese Beetle, Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter or Gypsy Moth.

Pest Eradication
Exclusion is the first line of defense against invading pests, and Pest Detection the second. Pest Eradication is the program that's begun once a pest has been detected. The goal is to eliminate an exotic pest before it can harm home gardens and agriculture which would necessitate large-scale control programs and use of pesticides. Serious pests like Medfly, Japanese Beetle and Gypsy Moth are dealt with quickly.

Fruit & Vegetable Quality Control
Contra Costa County produces some of the finest fruits, nuts and vegetables in the nation. This program involves the enforcement of state laws and regulations pertaining to packing, shipping and quality of these agricultural commodities. The Agricultural Commissioner is also responsible for the certification of producers of agricultural products sold at farmers markets, the certification of those Farmers Markets and the registration of organic farmers (organic registration).

Egg Quality Control
County inspectors enforce state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to eggs and egg products. Inspectors are licensed by the federal government as well as by the state. These inspections ensure wholesome eggs as well as correct size and truthful labeling.

Pest Management
It is the policy of our department to use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to address pest problems. IPM makes use of mechanical, cultural, biological (especially beneficial insects) and chemical control techniques. Pest identification, monitoring of pest populations and determining action thresholds are part of this process. We can assist the public and agricultural community in the identification of weed, insect, and vertebrate pests and suggest control options and alternatives. Questions concerning gardening are best handled by the University of California Cooperative Extension.With the cooperation of growers and public agencies departmental programs include the control of Artichoke Thistle and Purple Starthistle in agricultural situations. We are actively involved in the release of biological control agents to control Yellow Starthistle and other noxious weeds.

The vertebrate pest management program provides assistance and advice on a cooperative basis to growers and public agencies for the control of ground squirrels. Rodenticides for ground squirrel control in an agricultural setting are available for sale to individuals. Complaints of bird damage to crops and predatory animal complaints are handled by the Deputy in charge of pest management or the Chief Deputy. In appropriate situations an agricultural burn permit may be issued for the control of disease.

Pesticide Use Enforcement
This division is responsible for the enforcement of state regulations as they apply to the safe and effective use of pesticides. This includes the issuance of restricted materials permits, the monitoring of pesticide applications, the auditing of pesticide dealers and advisors and the inspection of government, grower and pest control business equipment and facilities. Our goal is to protect agricultural workers, consumers and the environment from exposure to unsafe levels of pesticides.
For additional information on any of the following topics, please contact our office or click on the DPR website:
  • California Restricted Materials
  • Pesticide Use Reporting
  • Licensing and Certification
  • Structural Pest Control
  • Continuing Education Requirements
  • Pest Control Business Registration
  • Headquarters Inspection Checklist
  • Employee Training
  • Groundwater Protection and Pest
  • Management Zones Disposal of Pesticides
  • Empty Containers
Nursery Inspection
Nursery inspections ensure that the consumers are supplied with correctly-labeled, pest-free plants for food production and ornamental use. We also assist nurserymen in finding proper methods of controlling insects, diseases and nematodes which would seriously affect nursery stock.

Seed Inspection and Certification
The aim of this program is to inspect the labeling of seed packages to be certain they reflect California Seed Law for the correct percentage of germination, date of test, purity, and weed seed content. Seed shipments are also checked for noxious weed seed. We also verify the proper handling of seed grown in our county to ensure that it meets quality standards for certification to other states and countries.

Apiary
Each year all beekeepers in the county are required to register their colonies with the Agricultural Commissioner. This process is designed to be beneficial to beekeepers as well as people who live and work near bee yards. It helps us know where hives are located and helps resolve certain complaints and issues concerning bees in our county. The possibility of Africanized Honeybees entering our county makes it especially important that we know where colonies are being kept.There is $10 registration fee. Blank forms are available at our office. If you have been stung multiple times by honeybees or ground nesting wasps, you can possibly get assistance from the Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control Agency at 925-685-9301.

Crop Statistics
This program involves gathering information, compiling parcel records and publishing an annual crop report. The report puts a dollar amount on the value of agricultural production in Contra Costa County and highlights some of our department's accomplishments. Approximately 800 copies of our Annual Crop and Livestock Report are disseminated to the media, legislators, business and the public. These statistics provide the basis for crop value calculations used during disaster relief efforts. Copies are available at our offices.