Skip to main content


May contain: jug

Pesticides are substances that are used to repel or kill undesirable plants or animals. Pesticide use on agricultural operations is regulated on the federal, state, and local scale. Regulations are in place to ensure the proper transport, use, and storage of chemicals such that human, animal, and environmental health is protected. The state of California has one of the strongest pesticide regulation programs in the country. In California, the local Agricultural Commissioner tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that state and federal pesticide laws are implemented.

Pesticides must be registered and licensed for use within the United States as well as within each state. Maintenance gardeners, agricultural pest control operators, agricultural pest control advisors, pest control pilots, farm labor contractors, structural pest control operators, field representatives, and applicators must be licensed by the state and registered in each county in which they work. Operator identification numbers must be obtained by those who wish to apply pesticides to agricultural properties. Certain pesticides are considered restricted and may require additional permitting and submittal of a Notice of Intent to Use prior to purchase and use. Information on licensing, registration, and permitting can be found at the County of San Diego Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures website.

Proper use and handling of pesticides can be beneficial to crop production; however, improper use, handling or storage can lead to environmental damage and unwanted human health conditions. Prior to the use of any pesticide, ensure that the proper licenses and permits have been obtained and that the product is registered for use. Thoroughly read the product label, follow the instructions and take any precautions noted. Proper personal protective equipment, such as gloves, respirators and glasses, can help limit human exposure and minimize health risks. Pesticides should always be stored in a locked cabinet away from children, pets, water sources and sensitive habitats.

Pesticide Resources