Office of Pesticide Consultation & Analysis (OPCA)
The Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA) was created to provide consultation to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). OPCA's consultative activities focus on potential pesticide regulatory impacts and pest management alternatives that may mitigate or prevent such impacts on production agriculture. More information on OPCA.
Development of Alternative Management Strategies
California is the number one agricultural production state and also has the most specialty crops, some of which are not grown anywhere else in the country. California growers are under pressure from ever-tightening regulations and need to phase in new pest management methods in order to remain competitive. To address this need, OPCA secured funding through a budget change proposal to fund two projects, both aimed at giving California agriculture additional and often lower risk tools to combat pests. Support for USDA’s IR-4 project will increase the number of pest control options for a variety of specialty crops and support research for alternatives to current pesticide use. The biologically integrated farming systems program will further the outreach of innovative, efficient and scientifically sound IPM-based practices. California agriculture also faces difficulties owing to continual introductions of new, invasive pests. OPCA is working to develop proactive integrated pest management solutions to these exotic pest infestations, which often start in urban areas.
The Governor's 1991 Reorganization Plan relieved CDFA of its pesticide regulatory authority, relocating it within the newly-formed Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) inside the California Environmental Protection agency (Cal-EPA). As a quid pro quo for this change, Food & Agricultural Code Section 11454.2 requires DPR to consult with CDFA on proposed pesticide regulations; consultation is carried out under a Memorandum of Agreement, originally signed on 6 February 1992. The Office of Pesticide Consultation & Analysis (OPCA) performs CDFA's consultative role. It is funded by a supplemental portion (0.075 cents per dollar of agricultural pesticide sales) of the pesticide mill assessment that funds DPR. OPCA is not involved in pesticide registration nor in pesticide use enforcement as such activities are solely in the purview of DPR.
OPCA's consultative activities focus on potential impacts of regulations and pest management alternatives that may mitigate or prevent such impacts on production agriculture. OPCA tracks a continuous stream of regulations concerning various pesticide active ingredients. The office monitors developments related to management of pesticides near agricultural-urban interfaces, volatile organic compound emissions and toxic air contaminants, surface water and groundwater topics, worker safety issues, and a variety of other matters. In consultation with pest management experts, OPCA authors comments to DPR on regulatory issues including the cancellation of registered pesticides. More complicated economic and pest management impact studies are done via research contracts with University of California scientists and agricultural economists.
As state and federal pesticide regulations become ever more restricted, understanding the science and economics of reduced-risk pest management techniques is imperative. To this end, OPCA has funded interdisciplinary research on technologies and alternative pest management practices which might mitigate the need for future pesticide regulations.
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