Agriculture / Weights and Measures Services

Services

Agricultural Liaison Advisory Board (ALAB)

Agricultural Liaison Advisory Board (ALAB) is advisory to the Board of Supervisors and is recognized as a forum for discussion of matters that relate to local agriculture and land use or as directed by the Board of Supervisors. The ALAB members serve at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors. Meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held on the 1st Monday of each month and are subject to cancellation if there are not sufficient agenda items that need to be addressed. 

ALAB membership is as follows: one representative from each Supervisorial district;  SLO County Farm Bureau representative;  Agricultural Finance representative; Environmental representative; Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (RCD) representative; Upper Salinas-Las Tablas RCD; SLO County Cattlemen’s Association representative; Wine Grape industry representative; Vegetable industry representative; Nursery industry representative; Organic Grower/Direct Marketing industry representative; Strawberry industry representative.  Ex-Officio members (non-voting) include: UC Cooperative Extension Director (or designee); Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer (or designee).  For general questions or agenda item requests contact the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures.

Agriculture Statistics and Mapping/GIS

The Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures submits an annual report to the Director of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on the acreage, production yields and value of agricultural products. The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures' annual Crop Report publication contains this information as well as other useful data about local agricultural production.  

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures maintains GIS data layers which are made available to the public, other County departments and agencies for the purposes of tracking and identifying agricultural production. Information is gleaned from various Departmental processes including field visits and local knowledge of the county.

In the event of natural disasters such as severe frost, drought or excessive heat conditions occurring over a widespread area of the county causing crop damage, the Annual Crop Report and GIS data are used to develop supporting statistics to validate the degree of crop loss.  If certain criteria are met for state and federal disaster declarations, the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures will submit disaster declaration requests to the California Emergency Management Agency.

Apiary Complaints

Staff from the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures will respond to questions or complaints regarding aggressive or excessive bee activity related to a specific apiary or set of beehives in San Luis Obispo County.  The response will be within parameters listed in the San Luis Obispo County Ordinance Title 5 Agriculture Chapter 5.04 BEES.

Contact the Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures Office by phone or e-mail to file a complaint.  For life threatening stinging incidents, call 911.

Apiary Registration

Registration of an apiary is required once a beekeeper has placed bees at a site that meets the requirements set forth in the San Luis Obispo County Ordinance Title 5 Agriculture Chapter 5.04 BEES.  A Registration Form,  found on this page, shall be submitted to the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures, along with the registration fee. Registration shall to be done annually, by January 1 of each year.
 

Certified Farmers' Market Registration

A registered Certified Farmers' Market is a place where California producers can sell what they grow directly to consumers, giving consumers access to California-grown produce and a chance to meet the farmers. This registration is for agricultural producers, non-profit organizations, or government agencies that administer a Certified Farmers' Market.  (Producers that desire to sell at Certified Farmers' Markets shall obtain a Farmers' Market Certified Producers Certificate).

For a list of market locations and times, refer to the Farmers Market Schedule.
 

Certified Farmers' Market Scale Inspection

Scales used in direct sales at Certified Farmers' Markets are required to be inspected for accuracy on an annual basis.  Scale owners are responsible to have their scales inspected before use.  Contact the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures office to set up an appointment to have scales tested.  Appointments are available through the San Luis Obispo and Templeton offices.

For a list of market locations and times, refer to the Farmers Market Schedule.

Device Inspection/Registration Services

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/ Weights and Measures' Weights and Measures Program serves the community by safeguarding measurement accuracy and assuring confidence and integrity in the marketplace.

This is accomplished in part by the annual inspection of all the weighing and measuring devices in the county. The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures team completes these inspections on behalf of the consumer and the business owner to ensure accuracy and compliance of all weights and measures laws and regulations.

Emergency Preparedness Planning

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures collaborates with local, state and federal emergency responders to plan for response to natural disasters and emergencies that could impact agricultural operations.  Staff with expertise in hazardous materials such as pesticides, radiological ingestion pathway exposure and general knowledge about local agricultural processes and operations are trained to respond as requested by the County Office of Emergency Services or others.  

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures is a source of information that farmers, ranchers, food and nursery stock producers,distributors and others involved in the growing, transport, processing and sale of agricultural commodities should know in the event of an emergency at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant as outlined in the Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Information for Agriculture Booklet.

Employee Pesticide Training and Safety

Any grower, pest control business, or Farm Labor Contractor who has employees handling pesticides must insure that employees are properly trained on the safe use of pesticides.

In addition, fieldworkers who are working in agricultural fields that are considered a treated field (a pesticide has been applied in the past thirty days or a restricted entry interval (REI) has been in effect in the past thirty days) must also receive safety training. 

For the most current laws and regulations concerning employee training, please contact your district Pesticide Use Enforcement Inspector  at the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures for details. If you do not know who your district inspector is, please call the nearest Agriculture Department office to find out those details.

Additional training information and training forms can be found on the Department of Pesticide Regulations Website.

Farmers' Market Certified Producer Certificate

San Luis Obispo County is home to numerous weekly Certified Farmers’ Markets, with at least one operating almost every day of the week.  The markets give consumers the chance to meet and buy products directly from many Certified Producers.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, plants, flowers and certain processed agricultural goods available year-round offer shoppers the bounty of each season.

California Certified Farmers’ Markets allow producers to offer certain types of products directly to the public. To sell within a Certified Farmers’ Market, a producer must be Certified. Certification is done by obtaining a Farmers' Market Certified Producers Certificate issued by the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures. The Certificate documents what crops producers are growing and where crops are grown.

Contact your nearest County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures office for a Certified Producer's application or print from the website. Return the completed form to the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures office. Additional paperwork may be requested such a notarized copy of the growing site lease agreement.

The application will be reviewed and a growing site inspection will be scheduled.  A site inspection is performed to ensure that all of the commodities listed on the application are actually grown by the applicant.

Once a Certified Producer’s Certificate is issued, it must be conspicuously displayed at any Certified Farmers’ Market where the producer is selling.

For a list of market locations and times, refer to the Farmers Market Schedule.

Glassy-winged Sharpshooter/Pierce's Disease Control Program

Staff from the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures routinely inspect incoming Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (GWSS) host shipments to slow or stop the spread of GWSS. These shipments originate from GWSS infested areas and are destined to wholesale and retail nurseries where the plants are sold.

Nursery operators and residents purchasing GWSS host plants from  nurseries in a GWSS quarantined county should call any one of the  County of San  Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures' three offices to set up an inspection.  

Visit https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/pdcp/Regulations.html to view an updated list of GWSS host plants.

For current quarantine areas, refer to the California Department of Food and Agriculture Pierce's Disease Control Program Maps.

 

Insect Trapping

 
The County of San Luis Obispo’s Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures’ Pest Detection Program is focused on finding destructive insect pests and the plant diseases they may carry.  The Program is part of a three-pronged approach to keep destructive insects out: pest exclusion, pest detection and pest eradication.  County Pest Detection Trappers, working year-round, act as detectives, examining strategically placed insect traps located in plants favored by specific invasive insects.  With homeowners’ cooperation, traps are placed throughout local urban communities which are likely points of introduction.  Traps contain lures that attract targeted insect species, intercepting any that may be in the surrounding neighborhood.
 
An example of one targeted pest is the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly). The Medfly attacks over 250 types of crops, including many common home garden fruits and vegetables, turning them into maggot-infested, inedible mush.  It is extremely important to find these types of pests before they become established and do serious damage. 

The most important component of the successful Pest Detection Trap Program is the partnership and cooperation of homeowners in granting permission to host insect traps on private property. You can help protect your neighborhood and our county from new destructive exotic insect pests by volunteering your fruit trees and garden for placement of out insect traps.  

Fill out the "Approval To Trap In My Yard" form and return it to one of our offices.  Be sure to indicate the types of trees you have, street address, phone number, if you have a dog in the yard and any other information necessary to enter your yard to place the trap.

Land Use Planning/Resource Protection

For any member of the general public who has questions or complaints regarding certain agricultural practices, such as dust, noise, or odor, you may contact our office with your questions and concerns. For questions or complaints regarding pesticide applications, please see the Pesticide Complaint section. 

Due to State law and the County Right to Farm Ordinance, we may not be able to resolve every concern regarding typical agricultural operations but we can assist in determining if certain practices are allowed and, in some cases, mediate between neighboring parties. 
 

Nursery License

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures' Nursery Program insures local nurseries sell clean, healthy, and properly identified plants to their customers. Nursery stock produced within San Luis Obispo County is inspected at least once annually.  Nursery Stock Certificates are issued to nurseries that ship both interstate and intrastate.

Organic Production Registration

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures assists growers to become registered as organic producers by providing information about  local, state and national organic regulations, and assistance with the California Department of Food and Agriculture's online organic registration process.

Staff from the San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures  inspect producers, handlers, retailers, and Farmers’ Markets for compliance with all organic production regulations, investigates complaints relating to organic production and/or handling, verifies integrity of organic produce by sampling for residue of certain pesticides and reviews pesticide use report information.  Verification of the history of reported pesticide applications to a specific site can be requested through the Request for Public Information process.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has many resources available to organic producers including; national and state regulations, a list of approved organic pesticide materials, contact information for all registered organic certifiers, and other helpful information.

Registration, cost share applications and complaint information can be found on The California Department of Food and Agriculture's Organic Registration website. Printable forms are available if you prefer to file by mail, however registration through the online database at  is the preferred method.  
 

Pest Exclusion Inspections

Pest Exclusion Program staff from the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures routinely inspect incoming plant shipments for invasive and exotic pests. Staff also inspect for compliance with federal, state and local quarantine regulations. The shipments inspected may come from all over the world (other countries, states or counties).

The Pest Exclusion Program is part of a three-pronged approach to keep destructive pests out of the county: pest exclusion, pest detection and pest eradication.

Pesticide Container Inspection

To protect the environment and the public's health, Disposal Certificates insure only empty and properly rinsed containers are delivered to local landfills or other proper facilities.

Local agriculturalists and growers who wish to dispose of empty and properly rinsed pesticide containers must first obtain a "Pesticide Container Disposal Certificate" from the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures prior to taking the containers to a local landfill. 

Emptied and properly rinsed pesticide containers must be inspected by Inspectors from the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures Pesticide Use Enforcement Program prior to issuance of the certificate. 

Contact the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures for an appointment for a container inspection.  Please see the document "Pesticide Container Disposal" for details on the requirements.

Pesticide Use

Pesticide Use Inspectors work with growers to inform them on current pesticide laws and regulations and help insure compliance. This can be conducted during annual Pesticide Use Permit or Operator Identification Number renewal appointment or as a voluntary site inspection requested by the grower. 

Contact the Agricultural Inspector that issued your Pesticide Use Permit to set up an appointment. If you do not know who your district Inspector is, call the nearest County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures office to find out those details. 

Pesticide Use Complaints

Questions or complaints regarding a specific pesticide application, or general questions regarding pesticide laws and regulations can be made at any time. Response is during weekday business hours and most weekends and holidays.

To report a pesticide complaint, contact the San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures as soon as possible.
For complaints made outside of normal business hours, call the main office line at (805) 781-5910 or the Pesticide Complaint Line at (800) 528-9333.
Call 911 if the situation is life threatening.

Pesticide Use Registrations

Information and Forms for the different Registrations offered from the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture

Pesticide Use Reporting

All growers with a current pesticide Restricted Materials Permit or Operator Identification Number are required to submit Pesticide Use Reports detailing all pesticide applications to the County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures. It is important to have a current pesticide Restricted Materials Permit or Operator Identification Number prior to making any pesticide applications.

Both Pesticide Use Reports and Monthly Summary Pesticide Use Reports can be submitted to any of  the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures'  three offices in person, by fax, or via regular mail. Also, there are mail slots at each office for submission of use reports during non-business hours. 

For growers interested in submitting Pesticide Use Reports online utilizing the CalAgPermits reporting program, contact the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures'  San Luis Obispo office at (805) 781-5910 for assistance in gaining access into the CalAgPermits reporting program. 
(Pest Control Businesses must  also submit Pesticide Use Records, either via the online reporting system, CalAgPermits or paper copies).

For growers who have questions regarding how to properly fill out and record pesticide use information, contact the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures'  Pesticide Use Enforcement Inspector that issued the pesticide Restricted Materials Permit or Operator Identification Number.

 

Petroleum Inspections

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures' Petroleum Program oversees the advertising and labeling of motor fuels and lubricants for compliance with state law.  Fuels and lubricants are sampled and tested to ensure they meet mandated specifications and tolerances for public safety along with vehicle and equipment performance. 

For Additional information, see the California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA's) Petroleum Site.

Phytosanitary Export Certificates

Commodities with a destination other than California may require Phytosanitary Certification. These certificates attest that shipments of plants and plant products are free from regulated pests, and conform to other phytosanitary requirements as specified by the importing state or country. Certification depends on the type of commodity and destination. Federal Phytosanitary Certificates may be required for shipments going to other countries while State Phytosanitary Certificates may be required for shipments going to other states within the USA. Pest Exclusion staff are qualified to issue State and Federal Phytosanitary Certificates. Certificates are issued after inspections determine the shipments are free from pest of quarantine concern to the importing state or country.

Phytosanitary Certification clients are required to obtain an account with the U.S Department of Agriculture Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance & Tracking System (PCIT).

For more information, call the Quarantine Duty Officer at (805) 781-5910.

Price/Device Accuracy - Customer Complaint

Questions or complaints from consumers or business owners regarding the accuracy or proper use of any type of weighing and measuring device, can be submitted to the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures.  The Complaint Form will assist staff to appropriately respond to complaints.
 

Private Applicator Certificate Exams

Pesticide Use Enforcement Inspectors can administer a Private Applicator Certificate examination which will enable growers to earn the certification required, prior to obtaining a Restricted Materials Permit. 
Additional information regarding the certification requirements can be found at the following Department of Pesticide Regulation website.

Please contact the nearest Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures Office if you have questions regarding becoming a Certified Private Applicator or questions regarding the renewal process.
 

Quantity Control

The County of San Luis Obispo's Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures' Quantity Control Program ensures that items sold by weight, measure, or count meet the stated net content statement.  The Program oversees compliance with the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, providing customers a fully informative package statement to facilitate a fair and equitable marketplace.  Price verification inspections performed by staff from the County of San Luis Obispo's Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures'  verify customers are charged the lowest advertised price when purchasing a commodity at a point of sale. 

For more information, see the California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA's) Control Program.
 

Request for Public Information/Records

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures will respond to requests  for records in accordance with the California Public Records Act. The fillable form is one way requests for public records can be submitted to the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures. Requested records are usually delivered via email, but can also be made available, by appointment, at the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures' office during normal business hours.  

Restricted Materials Permit

Pesticide Use Enforcement Inspectors can issue certified growers a Restricted Materials permit which will enable growers to purchase, store, and use certain restricted use pesticides under specific permit conditions. 

Inspectors can also administer a Private Applicator Certificate examination which will enable growers to earn the certification required prior to obtaining a Restricted Materials Permit. 

Additional information regarding the certification requirements can be found from the California Department of Pesticide Regulations.

Prior to the issuance of a Restricted Materials Permit, growers must be certified as a Certified Private Applicator or hold an equivalent certification. A Private Applicator certificate can be obtained by taking an exam or can be renewed by obtaining the required amount of continuing education credits (or by re-examination). 

Please contact your local district Inspector if you have questions regarding becoming a Certified Private Applicator or questions regarding the renewal process. 

If you are currently a Certified Private Applicator, contact your local district inspector to make an appointment for a new or renewed Restricted Materials Permit.

If you do not know who your district inspector is, please call the nearest Agriculture Department office to find out those details.
 

Seed Certification

Staff from the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures inspects crops grown for seed, during the growing season, to facilitate seed producers in exporting seeds throughout the world. The inspections focus on plant diseases that may be present in seed and are of concern to the receiving country (ies). This type of inspections ensure the seed crop meets the receiving countries’ requirements.

Seed Law

The San Luis Obispo County's Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures staff conduct inspections at business registered as seed labelers to verify the accuracy and accessibility of seed label statements listing variety and type, purity, and germination.

The Labeling Requirements Checklist for Seed law can be found at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/pe/nsc/docs/seed/SeedInspRec.pdf
For more information, please visit https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/pe/nsc/seed/

Vertebrate Control Program

Historically the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures  has had an active Vertebrate Control Program, focused upon assisting local growers and ranchers in controlling ground squirrels and other vertebrate pests detrimental to agriculture and public health. A major reduction of the program began in the mid 1980's due to regulatory constraints and loss of registration of Compound 1080. (Property owners paid the Department to apply Compound 1080, an acute toxicant to their private property).

Although the Department has shifted away from direct control activities, it continues to act as an informational resource for both agriculturalists and the general public dealing with various vertebrate pests. This shift occurred for a number of reasons, including the loss of registration of commonly used rodenticides, increased ecological concerns and regulations regarding the use of certain rodenticides, and changing priorities of the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures. Despite these changes, the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer has maintained part of its traditional role of providing customer service by assisting ranchers and farmers in controlling vertebrate pests through training and education. The Department no longer sells California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) labeled oat groat based rodenticide baits: 0.01% Chlorophacinone, (a broadcast/scattered bait) and 0.005% Diphacinone (used in bait stations).

Weeds Program

Across California, invasive plants damage wildlands and agricultural fields by displacing native plants and wildlife, increasing wildfire and flood danger, consuming valuable water, degrading recreational opportunities, destroying productive range and timber lands, and increasing production cost of agricultural commodities.  San Luis Obispo County is not immune to the introduction and establishment of unwanted plants.  

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures' Weed Management Program conducts surveillance throughout the county to search for new pest plants and for signs of spread of existing populations of noxious weed species that are currently managed.  Once plants are found, physical removal, herbicide treatments, and biological control are the tools used to mitigate the spread of invasive pest plants. 

Residents and visitors can help reduce the spread of invasive weeds by purchasing hay and straw from local sources, cleaning footwear, camping gear and tires after hiking or biking, and informing the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures of unusual plants.  

For information about a certain invasive weed species, please visit:

Weighmaster Enforcement Program

The County of San  Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures' Weighmaster Enforcement Program seeks to provide customer confidence when buying or selling bulk products based on quantities represented on a Weighmaster certificate by ensuring uniformity, fairness and honest competition in the marketplace

A Weighmaster certificate is always needed when both parties are not present and commodity is bought or sold by count or measure. 

For additional information related to the Weighmaster Enforcement Program, see the California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA's) Weighmaster Site.

For a list of public scales in San Luis Obispo County that are current Weighmaster locations, See CDFA's Public Scales site.