Pesticide Regulation FAQ

What is a pesticide?

A pesticide is a substance which is used to do any of the following:

  • Kill, destroy, prevent, or repel any pest which may infest or be detrimental to man, animals or plants;
  • Defoliate plants;
  • Regulate plant growth;
  • Used as a spray adjuvant.

If the chemical is used to do any of the above, it is a pesticide and all pesticide laws must be followed when handling, storing, or transporting the chemical. Restricted pesticides are subject to additional regulatory requirements. If you are not sure whether a chemical is a pesticide look on the EPA registration number. All pesticides have one. Or simply call your County Agricultural Commissioner's office.

Who should I call if I see someone spraying illegally, in bad weather conditions, or if there is drift?

Answer: To report violators of pesticide regulations of any kind contact the Shasta County Agricultural Commissioner's office or your local law enforcement officials.

How can I find out about what is being sprayed around my property and whether it is dangerous to my family or animals?

Answer: Information concerning the application of pesticides throughout the county is available to the general public through a written request to our office.  General Public Records Request Information

Can I use the same chemicals to spray weeds around my house as I use to spray my ranch and fields?

Answer: The label will designate where and when a pesticide can be applied and whether it is for agricultural or residential use. Follow label directions or contact your local Pest Control Advisor about proper use of pesticides in and around your home and ranch.

What types of pesticide are safe to use around my ponds and ditches?

Answer: Many pesticides may contaminate groundwater if improperly used and can be highly toxic to aquatic organisms. The state of California has restricted the use of many pesticides for use around water listed under, CCR Title 3, section 6800. There are agricultural water discharge laws in effect, and several federal regulations which have been enacted to protect waterways of the US.

Do I need a certificate, permit or license before I can purchase a pesticide for use on my own property?

Answer: Generally, if you purchase pesticides labeled for "home use" you would not need a certificate, permit or license. If you are growing an agricultural crop or commodity for sale you are required to obtain an operator identification number in order to use a pesticide and should contact our office.

Who needs a restricted materials permit or operator I.D. number?

  • All growers who plan to purchase and/or use  to control any pest, or plan to hire a pest control operator to treat agricultural production areas.
  • The type of permit a grower will need is determined by the pesticide selected for use.

Where does a Shasta County grower go to obtain a permit or operator I.D. number?

You may obtain a permit or operator I.D. number from the Shasta County Agricultural Commissioner's Office. Please call us for an appointment.

Is there a fee to obtain a pesticide permit?

Answer: No, permits are free of charge, but proper certification may be necessary for issuance of the permit, as well as information concerning intended use and method of application.

Can a property owner designate a licensed individual/business to obtain a pesticide permit?

Answer: Yes, with a valid letter of authorization from the property owner.

What can a grower expect when applying for a permit or a grower I.D. number?

  • In order to receive a restricted materials permit you will first be required to obtain a Private Applicator Certificate. A map is also necessary, showing the locations of fields, greenhouses, production sites and other treatment areas. If you are applying for a restricted materials permit as an employee, you must first obtain a letter of authorization from the property owner which states that you are authorized to make pesticide decisions for the property. This letter must be presented to the Agricultural Commissioner before a permit can be issued.
  • If you are applying for an operator I.D. number you do not need to take a test, but we will request a map and will require details about your intended application. Any special pesticide requirements are discussed or documented at this time.

What are the requirements for storing pesticides?

  • All pesticide containers which hold or have held a pesticide must be stored in a locked storage facility when not under direct control of a responsible person.
  • Any storage facility that contains pesticides with "WARNING" or "DANGER" on the label must be posted with a sign readable from 25 feet from any direction of approach, which says:


  • All containers must carry the registrant's label when stored or transported.
  • No pesticides may be placed in a container commonly used for food, drink, or other household products.

What are the requirements for transporting pesticides?

  • Pesticides may not be transported in the same compartment with food, feed, or persons.
  • All pesticides must be secured to the vehicle. Cardboard, paper, and similar packing materials shall be covered to protect the contents from moisture.
  • Other agencies, such as CHP, DMV, etc., have additional transportation and licensing requirements for materials which they classify as hazardous. This may include pesticides. Contact the CHP or DMV for additional information.

What are the requirements for disposal of emptied pesticide containers?

  • All empty pesticide containers must be rinsed 3 times at the job site and the rinse water placed in a spray tank.
  • Dispose of the rinsed containers at an approved dump. For more information about approved dumps and disposal procedures, contact the County Agricultural Commissioner.

What is a Notice of Intent?

Twenty-four hours prior to the use of a restricted material, the permit holder is responsible for filing a "notice of intent" (NOI) with the County Agricultural Commissioner's Office. This responsibility is often delegated by the permit holder to the pest control operator, pesticide dealer or other involved party, but the permit holder is ultimately responsible for this requirement. An NOI can usually be conveyed to the Agricultural Commissioner by telephone, fax, or in person, but you should contact your local commissioner to see which mode of transmittal is most acceptable.

NOI Form for Faxing

A notice of intent submitted to your local Agricultural Commissioner requires the following information:

  • Grower's name,
  • Permit number,
  • Applicator's name,
  • Location (site number) to be treated,
  • Crop and acreage,
  • Pesticide to be used, rate (per acre) and dilution,
  • Date of intended application,
  • Environmental changes since the permit was issued (adjacent sensitive plants, seasonal streams, etc.).

Your notice of intent opens a four-day window for your intended application. If your application takes place beyond this period of time, you need to call another NOI. If the application is canceled, please notify your Commissioner's office. Shasta County Department of Agriculture requests that all NOI's are submitted by telephone-(530)224-4949. If you reach our phone recorder on weekends, please provide all of the required information, and state the date and time that you are calling.

When can I expect a pesticide inspection?

As a grower, your pesticide activities may be inspected any time during the year by an inspector from the County Agricultural Commissioner's Office. An inspection may be initiated for several reasons:

  • Routine Grower Audit;
  • Pre-Application and/or Application Inspection;
  • Complaint;
  • Episode Investigation.

How do I prepare for an inspection?

If you know about the inspection in advance, review any old inspection forms for past problems and ask the inspector what documents you will need to gather together to make the procedure go quickly and smoothly.

  • Routine Grower Audit- The inspector will be looking at your employee training records, medical information and PSIS #A8 posting, pesticide application records, restricted materials permit or operator I.D. number, application equipment, and pesticide storage area.
  • An application inspection is most often made unannounced. The inspector will be looking at your application procedures and equipment to make certain that you are following all label directions (and worker safety regulations if the applicator is an employee) and any applicable permit conditions in order to verify that you are not creating a hazard.
  • Complaints- Each County Agricultural Commissioner's Office receives pesticide related complaints from the public every year. These investigations can range broadly in description, it is impossible to anticipate what questions will be asked, so the best advice is to keep good records and answer all questions to the best of your knowledge.
  • Episode Investigation- Three investigations may be initiated by a complaint or by a doctor's illness report. Often there is an illness or property damage claim involved in this type of investigation. Similar to a complaint investigation, the best way to be prepared for this type of inspection is to keep complete and up to date pesticide use and employee training records.