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 2022-23:
1. The continued refinement and incorporation of new technologies has resulted in increased efficiency as well as provided tools for better analysis of program, grant and agreement execution. It has made it easier and more transparent to identify areas that may be improved upon for better service to our County’s citizens. A continued effort by all departments to development Standard Operating Procedures for the clear and consistent implementation of CalCATS, PermitsPro and CalTrap are currently being authored by senior level team members.
2. This year we have worked with OMS to execute a rehab contract for structural improvements at the Williams Migrant Center. This year we have entered into and completed a contract for the procurement and installation of 100 HVAC systems in all tenant housing units. This project was completed on time and within budget.
3. Successfully completed our first renewal cycle of the new Colusa County Burn Permit Program. This included meeting with several local fires districts to ensure that the new system is meeting their needs and accepting suggestions for improvement.
4. This past fiscal year was a budgetary challenge for the Agriculture and Air Pollution Departments. Colusa experience water allocations that resulted in an enormous reduction in planted acres of Colusa’s top crop – Rice. This resulted in budget revenues for both departments. Navigating these revenue reductions while still providing full services was a strain on both departments. However, I feel that both departments accomplished excellent service and all team members rose above and beyond to ensure our reduced staffing levels and resources did not affect the public and the agricultural industry which we serve.
Goals & Objectives for Fiscal Year 2023-24:
1. Continue to develop strategic and fiscally responsible replacement plans for technologies our Departments have come to depend on to effectively serve the public. Search funding resources to supplement general fund contributions for regular replacement of electronic devices.
2. Continue to search 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. Continue to 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 member throughout the county.
5. Continue to recruit highly new qualified employees when vacancies occur. This will be done by consistently evaluating the needs of the departments while working with Human Recourses to update and keep current job descriptions and policies that new employees find attractive. Provide all training and support necessary to current employees in an effort to retain an already trained and licensed team. 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 2023/2024 Budget will include the following major changes:
1. The 23/24 budget will be the first with the complete elimination of the Ag Administrative Services Department. All personnel will be transitioned into the Ag Department with labor distributions and associated costs allocated to reflect support for the Air Pollution Control District and Migrant Housing Center.
2. This budget includes a new personnel request for a Deputy Ag Commissioner/Sealer in the Ag Department. This is a position that previously existed in the Ag Commissioner’s Office organization years ago, but was eliminated during at time of budgetary cutbacks. This position will reestablish the promotional ladder within the department and allow the department to structure some long-term succession planning.
3. This budget also includes additional revenue anticipated with the return of crops produced in Colusa following the 2022 drought year. This is not a full restoration of revenue due to the production season falling within two fiscal years.
4. This budget includes a significant increase in the Migrant Housing operational budget due to the anticipated construction project of Broadband installation at the Center. This infrastructure project is being done at the request, approval and funding by the State Office of Migrant Housing. There will be no county General Funds being used for this project.