CAWG Statewide Update: Pest Management and Politics

Last month the California Department of Pesticide Regulation recommended new interim restrictions on the use of chlorpyrifos. The interim measures include:

  • Banning all aerial applications of chlorpyrifos.
  • Discontinuing its use on most crops.
  • Requiring a quarter-mile buffer zone during all allowed applications of the pesticide and for 24 hours afterwards.
  • Requiring a 150-foot setback from houses, businesses, schools and other sensitive sites at all times, regardless of whether the site is occupied at the time of application.

DPR recommends that county ag commissioners begin implementing the interim measures on January 1, 2019.

The Legislature is also likely to consider legislation related to chlorpyrifos. Lawmakers may also explore neonicotinoids and Roundup as well.

Nonprofit groups are expected to point to recent developments relative to these chemicals and then sponsor legislation in 2019 to restrict or ban their use. Debate on this type of legislation is often filled with hyperbole.

It is then up to scientists and ag groups to more fully inform the debate over this important public policy. The inevitable problem is that misinformation about chemicals is repeated over and over again, and far too often the facts just get lost.

Such is the politics of pest management.

Ed note: Article submitted by Michael Miiller, Director of Government Relations for the California Association of Winegrape Growers. Michael can be reached at


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