County of Santa Barbara

Increased ‘Smelly’ Organic Complaints During Pandemic

Jim Rogers Radio Reports, Regulation

Agricultural Commissioner Offices have been busy with both conventional and organic complaints about agricultural applications. When those complaints are about drift or a pesticide in general, county offices are required to take action. “Yes, we’re required to do an investigation, and we’re required to submit it to (the Department of Pesticide Regulations) in a timely manner,” Santa Barbara County Deputy Agricultural Commissioner Lottie Martin said. 

With more of the general public at home during this pandemic, Martin said residents are noticing and complaining more about product applications. Oddly enough, Martin added that many of those calls in her area are organic complaints from products that are sensitive to the nose. “Several of the complaints started out as odor complaints, typically regarding organic materials,” Martin said. “There are a few organic pesticides that applicators use that are pretty smelly. That causes concern to folks, and then they call.”

Martin said if growers can’t get around using a product that has a pungent aroma, applicators need to be sure they are monitoring wind conditions on-site during the practice. “An anemometer is a great way to check wind speed and direction. We recommend that our applicators train to use those and use them on-site, especially in those ag-urban interfaces,” she said. 

Listen to the radio report.

Increased ‘Smelly’ Organic Complaints During Pandemic
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Taylor Hillman