Encouraging Schools to Comply with Pesticide Notifications

Monterey County Schools are Not Logging On to See Notifications

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Monterey County is having a hard time getting schools to comply with new regulations regarding restrictions of pesticide sprays and pesticide notifications near schools.

“There’s a quarter mile buffer for certain types of applications,” said Bob Roach, acting Agricultural Commissioner for Monterey County.

Fumigated Strawberry Field in Monterey County

When school’s in session, growers will comply with this buffer without any serious impact on their spray practices. Fumigants are already strictly controlled.

“We’re going to comply with everything, but the notification part is something that’s just been very difficult because the schools are not participating like they should be,” Roach said.

The growers must do an annual notification to the schools. In order to see that notification, the schools must log onto www.calschoolnotify.org, which the state has set up for that purpose, and then the notification will go directly from the grower to school administrator.

“What the school does with it is up to the school, but growers have prepared that notification on the Cal Ag ag permits web-based computer system for pesticide permits,” Roach explained. “That system does take all the restricted materials and adds them to a list, but you have to manually enter in your nonrestrictive materials and your spray adjuvants, which are included in this notification. They have to make a list of all the materials are going to use in the next year and they have to send that through to the www.calschoolnotify.org system so that schools can receive it.”

JUST RELEASED: Monterey County Ag Value Up Nearly Eight Percent

Monterey County 2015 Crop Report Shows Ag Value Up 7.75 Percent

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Monterey County Ag Commissioner Eric Lauritzen announced TODAY the production value by farmers in Monterey County for 2015 is $4.84 billion, an increase of 7.75% or $348 million over the previous year. According to the the 2015 Monterey County Crop Report released TODAY, the Monterey is again the fourth highest Ag producing county in California, following Tulare, Kern, and Fresno Counties.Lettuce fields

“Crop values vary from year to year based on production, market and weather conditions,” said Lauritzen. “As often the case, there was much fluctuation in the 2015 values, with 22 commodities down and 29 commodities increasing in value.

Notable results include:

  • head values increased 12% on better pricing.
  • Head lettuce showed a decline of 2% with fewer acres planted but higher prices.
  • Spring mix and salad products also declined in overall value.
  • Strawberry values increased by 21% on increased acreage and higher production.
  • Cauliflower and celery each saw values increase by approximately 25%. Celery showed a decrease in production with stronger pricing and cauliflower posted increases in both production and pricing.
  • Winegrapes declined 25% in 2015, after above-average production in previous years. This followed the statewide trend, with lower production and slightly higher prices.
  • Despite reduced acreage related to the drought, the value of nursery products increased by 11% on stronger pricing for many products.
Monterey County Strawberries
Monterey County Strawberries

“It is always important to note that the figures provided here are gross values and do not represent or reflect net profit or loss experienced by individual growers or by the industry as a whole,” Lauritzen clarified. “The numbers are big and only tell part of the story. It’s really about diversity and the ability to withstand changes, whether it is commodity change or Mother Nature,” said Lauritzen. 

“Growers do not have control over increased input costs such as fuel, fertilizers and packaging, or drought and labor shortage conditions,” Lauritzen explained, “nor can they significantly affect market prices. The fact that the gross value of agriculture increased reflects positively on the diversity and strength of our agriculture industry and its ability to respond to the many challenges,” he noted.

“The mainstays in Monterey County are the cool season vegetables,” said Lauritzen. “County growers are able modify planting programs even within the same year depending on market strengths or changes in consumer needs. When the cable food shows or restaurants decide to feature certain vegetable there is suddenly increase demand so Monterey County growers are often flexible in their planting schedules to meet demand.

“The Salinas Valley floor is very tight on acreage and available land planted out on the bench lands,” he said. “And growers are being asked to produce more with the same amount or even less ground and we are seeing that it increases prices,” he noted.winegrapes

“Each year we like to highlight a component of the industry in our report,” Lauritzen elaborated, “and this year we chose Certified Farmers Markets. We include a short piece on some of the people who produce and sell their own products directly to consumers at the 14 markets in Monterey County and elsewhere,” he said. “This important segment of our industry lets consumers meet farmers face-to-face and to become more directly connected with the food they eat.”

“Monterey County is proud to produce the crops that are healthy for the nation,” Lauritzen said, “and if consumer demand really matched what we need for a healthy diet, there would not be enough vegetables produced. We produce the food that consumers need to eat and it’s not just an economic driver for our region, but for the health of our nation,” he added.

“This 2015 Crop Report is our yearly opportunity to recognize the growers, shippers, ranchers, and other businesses ancillary to and supportive of agriculture, which is the largest driver of Monterey County’s economy,” Lauritzen summarized. “Special recognition for the production of the report goes to Christina McGinnis, Graham Hunting, Shayla Neufeld, and all of the staff who assisted in compiling this information and improving the quality of the report.”

Monterey County Rules Lettuce Market

Diversity Keeps Monterey County Going Strong

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Monterey County Ag Commissioner Eric Lauritzen talked about the success of local farmers in setting new crop production records, “Despite the water and labor shortages, crop values were up in 11 commodities that exceeded $100 million and 26 that surpassed $10 million. So, the diversity of the economic engine here in Monterey County remains strong despite adversity.”Monterey County Ag Comm Logo

The overall agricultural value of Monterey County is nearly $4.5 billion. Lauritzen noted, “Commodity by commodity, among our top crops, we saw leaf-lettuce surpass strawberries as the number one commodity again. Strawberries are still over $709 million, and the lettuces combined were about $1.4 billion. It is pretty amazing to see those kinds of numbers coming out of one county.

In addition to water and labor shortages, Lauritzen noted, “We have dealt with the impact of food safety issues with spinach. And though production levels continue to climb back, they have not reached levels achieved since the E. Coli outbreak back in 2010. Anyway, we are still thrilled to see the numbers so strong and this speaks to the economic engine of the County.”

Other achievements include:

-$8.1 billion generated for the local economy, including:

-$5.7 billion in direct economic output, nearly 20% of the county’s total direct economic output.

-$2.4 billion in additional economic output in the form of expenditures by agriculture companies and their employees

-76,054 jobs in Monterey County, including:

-55,702 direct employees, or nearly one quarter of all jobs in the county

-20,352 additional jobs made possible through expenditures by agricultural companies and their employees

-investments in ambitious new technology.