About the Agriculture Department
The Colusa County Department of Agriculture oversees major agricultural programs throughout the county. This is done through thoughtful and efficient management of multiple departments under the Agriculture Department umbrella.
Agricultural Commissioner’s Office – The Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures is the local authority for enforcement of the laws and regulations pertaining to Agriculture and Weights and Measures as outlined in the California Code of Regulations, Food and Agricultural Code and Business and Professions Code. The Agricultural Commissioner protects and promotes the agriculture industry by ensuring safe and effective use of pesticides which protects the citizens, environments, animals and property of Colusa County. The duties of the Commissioner also include inspecting and protecting crops from invasive species and disease as well as monitoring the condition of all agriculture and reporting this the Board of Supervisors and the State Secretary of Agriculture annually. As the County Sealer, laws and regulations are enforced to provide a fair and equitable marketplace for both business and consumers doing business throughout the County.
Air Pollution – The Air Pollution Control Officer is the director of the Colusa County Air Pollution District which enforces and ensures local compliance with the State and Federal Clean Air Acts as outlined in the Health and Safety Codes and local District Rules. The APCO oversees the permitting, monitoring and approving of all known and possible air contaminates and associated projects throughout the county. This department also seeks out grant opportunities to help support the agricultural community in compliance with these ever changing and increasing requirements.
Migrant Farm Housing – The County’s Migrant Farm Housing facility provides safe and affordable housing for migrant farm workers and their families during the growing and harvesting season. As the County’s Director of the facility, ensuring a successful and safe facility id beneficial to the residents, growers and citizens throughout the County. This facility consists of 100 multi-family units which are managed locally by guidelines set forth and in cooperation with the State Office of Migrant Services (OMS).
Agricultural Support Services – Agriculture Administrative Services was formed to provide services to all departments under the Department of Agriculture’s umbrella. Under the direction of the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer this department manages and provides all clerical and fiscal support.
Significant Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2020-21:
1. Acquired and implemented multiple new technologies to increase efficiency within the Departments as well as in the services to those we serve. These new and existing devices now utilize new software such as CalCATS, PermitsPro, CalTrap and GPS locating with ArcGIS mapping. These software programs increase the efficiency and accuracy in Timekeeping, reporting, grant tracking, permit issuing, inspection tracking and data organization.
2. Successfully transitioned management and staff into new positions while keeping services to the public seamless. This transition has resulted in greater office morale and productivity which has been recognized by the community and industry we serve.
3. Navigated the fluid situation our entire county experienced in the unknown waters of a worldwide pandemic – COVID-19. Our Department was able to quickly and effectively adapt to this situation of social distancing, lack of resources, tele-meetings and delays without interrupting the non-stop nature of agriculture.
4. Developed a new and successful Air Pollution Program - Alternative Assistance Replacement Program (AARP). At the request of the Board of Supervisors, and together with team members in the Air Pollution Department, we developed a program that did not exist anywhere in the State by utilizing existing grant funds. A need for support to a niche group of farmers was recognized by the Board. At their direction we found a solution within the means of existing and available funding by forward thinking and careful management of grant funding. In less than one year, this program was requested, developed, implemented and funding has successfully been awarded to growers who would have otherwise not received a grant from similar programs.
5. A focused effort to utilize existing personnel in specific programs and duties have resulted in higher levels of funding for the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. This focused effort has also resulted in greater compliance within water monitoring and pesticide usage programs throughout the county.
Goals & Objectives for Fiscal Year 2021-22:
1. Complete and refine the implementation of technologies and software in all departments. This will include developing strategic and fiscally responsible replacement plans for technologies our Departments have come to depend on to effectively serve the public.
2. Continue to search for and accept new funding programs that will better serve the agricultural industry and citizens of Colusa County. New programs that allow for utilization of existing personnel will be prioritized as well as programs that are sustainable and will most benefit the success of our County’s agricultural industry.
3. Develop and implement standard operating procedures within all departments that will better manage revenue and expenditures throughout the fiscal year. Procedures will involve all managers and personnel that are involved in contract/grant monitoring, tracking and billing.
4. Develop and implement a fiscally sound budget that not only meets the needs of the Department, but the needs of the agricultural industry which we serve. This budget will be easy to understand, logical and justifiable to all citizens, leaders and agricultural industry members throughout the county.
5. Complete the transition of new personnel recruitments. Provide all training and support necessary to increase productivity and efficiency throughout all departments. This will include identifying and addressing any trainings and career development opportunities that are available through State Liaisons, County resources and any other fiscally efficient means.
Summary of Major Budget Changes:
This FY 2021/2022 Budget proposes the following major changes:
1. All personnel in the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, Air Pollution Control District and Agriculture Administrative Services will transition from a 37.5 hour work week to a 40 hour work week. These departments work directly with the agricultural community on a daily basis. By increasing the hours in the normal work week this will allow us to increase our hours of service to them. If approved, our office hours will increase by 1 hour per day and the availability of a Biologist will increase by 1.5 hours per day. This increase will also create a more competitive recruitment process in that we will be working a more common 2080 hours per year rather than 1950.
2. This budget will also transition our Ag Aide positions consisting of 4-5 seasonal extra help personnel to a permanent full time Ag Technician. This technician will not only replace most of our Ag Aides but will also assume some non-licensed duties from the agricultural biologists which will in turn provide more ability for the biologists to completed licensed duties and service to the public.
3. The remainder of the changes consist of additional expenditures and revenues resulting in new or additional requirements included in contracts from State agencies.