Agricultural Commissioner / Sealer (1260B)

Program Outcome Statement

To protect agricultural and environmental resources, ensure the safe use of pesticides, prevent the introduction of invasive pests, provide consumer protection, and ensure equity in the marketplace.

Program Services

  • Inspect and ensure agricultural commodities entering County are free from invasive pests
  • Monitor County for invasive pests through insect pest detection trapping
  • Enforce pesticide regulations to ensure pesticides are used in accordance with regulations
  • Ensure weights and measures devices such as gas pumps, scanners, and scales are correct and accurate


Pest Prevention inspections are performed at SFO, express carriers, wholesale and retail nurseries, and insect pest detection trap sites. Activities and services are conducted and reimbursed via State agreements and industry fees. All these programs are mandated by State law. Early detection of harmful agricultural pests is facilitated by the placement of 4,060 insect traps throughout the County that are serviced 54,400 times each year.
The Pesticide Regulatory program focuses on applicator and fieldworker safety, endangered species protection, and monitoring of pesticide applications at sensitive sites. Pesticide regulatory oversight is provided for the agricultural industry, pest control businesses, and the general public.
Weights and Measures staff inspect businesses to ensure weighing and measuring devices and price scanner systems are accurate and in compliance with State regulations. Weights and Measures complaints received from consumers, the District Attorney’s Office, or State Division of Measurement Standards are investigated promptly.

Percent of SFO Agricultural Shipments Inspected with Actionable Pests Is the Same Compared to LAX

Percent of Licensed Businesses in Compliance with Pesticide Regulations Increased

Average Cost per Weights & Measures Device Inspected Increased

FY 2017-18 Mid-Year Story Behind Performance

SFO Agricultural Shipments Found With Actionable Pests Compared to Los Angeles Airport (LAX)

The Pest Prevention program continues to inspect agricultural shipments entering California through San Mateo County, with particular focus at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Staff inspect shipments entering California from other states. International shipments that enter the United States at SFO from other countries are inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For Fiscal Year 2016-17, we collected pest interception data from Los Angeles County to use as a benchmark and continue to collect the data for FY 2017-18. Our Department takes a proactive approach by using exclusion, early detection, and eradication to prevent pest introduction and establishment. An actionable pest is one identified in state regulation and subject to state quarantine laws. The Percent of SFO Shipments intercepted with Actionable Pests has decreased since last year due to a number of ongoing trends including fewer domestic shipments, a reduction in the variety of commodities shipped, and increased use of pretreatments to mitigate pest presence on shipments to California. The one percent of shipments intercepted with actionable pests is consistent with figures reported by Los Angeles County, who perform similar inspections at LAX. Moving forward, Department focus will be on shipments of less common commodities and those that have not undergone treatment.

Licensed Businesses in Compliance with Pesticide Regulations

Pest control businesses that apply pesticides must be licensed by the State and register annually with the Department to facilitate inspection and verify compliance with State laws and regulations. Increased pest control business surveillance and inspection in suburban and urban areas has identified more unregistered businesses from outside of the County providing pest control services for residents. There were changes to worker safety requirements for production agriculture operations during 2016 and 2017. To improve compliance, the Department conducts outreach to pest control businesses and growers concerning regulations, and provides continuing education for licensed pesticide users.The percentage of businesses in compliance with regulations has decreased slightly, reflecting our Department’s increased outreach and commitment to full countywide compliance with safety laws and regulations.

Weights & Measures Device Inspected

The Department inspects commercial weighing and measuring devices to protect the consumer and ensure equity in the marketplace. We developed a "cost per device" inspection benchmark performance measure by gathering end-of-year financial reports from California’s Division of Measurement Standards for other Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) counties. FY 17-18 is the fourth year we will compile this data. The costs for the San Mateo weights and measures device inspection program are lower than those of neighboring counties. These devices are generally inspected on a calendar year basis so when using fiscal year data the number of devices inspected per County may vary. The Department cost per device increased largely due increases in staff costs and senior staff performing the bulk of the inspections. The FY 17-18 projection is based on FY 16-17 actuals.

Future Priorities

  • The Department’s management team has prioritized regular individual meetings with staff and annual performance evaluations for all classes. We completed over 90 percent in FY 15-16 and FY 16-17 and expect to exceed the Countywide target in FY 17-18.
  • We developed a "cost per capita” benchmark performance measure by gathering end-of-year financial reports from County Departments of Agriculture and Weights and Measures that are ABAG counties. FY 16-17 is the  third year we complied this data and compared it to our department’s costs as an indicator of efficiency. FY 17-18 actuals will not be available until January 2019.
  • The Department met the countywide target of 90 percent Customer Survey Respondents Rating Services Good or Better. The Department has a goal of increasing the number of survey responses received.  Our customer survey is available on our website. We also distribute the survey on a postcard and send emails to customers with a link to the survey.

Author: Maria Mastrangelo, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner / Sealer     Contact Email:
Updated : 1/29/18