Pesticide reporting system on hold
Oregon Staff Writer
SALEM – Farmers can put down their pens. The
Oregon Department of Agriculture announced
this week it is delaying the start of
pesticide use reporting until 2007.
The department reversed an earlier decision to
require pesticide use reporting next year
after realizing that it wouldn’t be ready to
take data in time for growers to post next
“We want to make sure the system is fully
functional and all the bugs are worked out
before we ask people to enter a year’s worth
of data into it,” said department deputy
director Lisa Hanson. “Ultimately, it is going
to take a little longer than we initially
The department previously had asked farmers to
keep records of pesticide use beginning Jan. 1
and to post those records electronically at
some point next year.
The state’s pesticide use reporting system,
dormant since the fall of 2002, was
jump-started when the 2005 Legislature put
$1.9 million into it for the 2005-07 biennium,
with half to come from a surcharge on
pesticide registration fees and half to come
from the general fund.
The program, adopted by the 1999 Legislature,
originally was scheduled to start Jan. 1,
2003. In the fall of 2002 when the state’s
Emergency Board pulled funding from the
program, it was four to six months from being
operational, Hanson said.
She said the department has informed several
system proponents of its decision, including
Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s office.
“The governor’s office is in agreement that
this is a reasonable way to move forward with
implementing the program,” she said.
An official from the Oregon Environmental
Council – a key player in getting the system
adopted in 1999 and getting it funded last
session – said, however, that he was
disappointed in the department’s decision.
“The implementation of this program from the
beginning has been disappointing,” said Matt
Blevins, legislative affairs director for the
council. “The fact that six years after we
passed this law we still don’t have one bit of
information available on pesticide use in this
state doesn’t seem to be in line with the
original intent of the legislation. And now it
is going to be three more years before we get
Under the current timeline, the department
will compile its first report on pesticide use
in July 2008. Also under the current time
line, growers are required to submit their
2007 pesticide use data no later than Jan. 30,
2008. Data must be submitted electronically by
water basin and broken out into monthly use
The program is scheduled to sunset Dec. 31,
2009, but lawmakers could extend it.
Hanson said the department wanted to ensure
that farmers “have a reasonable experience
when they go into the system.”
“We want to make sure the system is
user-friendly and make it easy for those
reporting to meet the requirements of the new
law,” she said.
Also, Hanson said, because funding the system
was among the final actions taken by the
Legislature – coming near the end of the
session in mid-August – the department got a
late start on its development. Also, she said,
the company originally hired by the department
to develop the system was busy on other
projects and was unable to shift its focus to
PURS when the funding was allocated.
The good news, Hanson said, is that the
company hired to construct the system is able
to use some of the startup work it previously
The department will move forward with
household surveys in 2006, Hanson said, and
will begin charging pesticide manufacturers
the $40 surcharge on registration fees used to
fund half the system.
The department also plans to change
administrative rules to reflect changes the
2005 Legislature made to the system in Senate
Bill 290, including a change in reporting
location from township, section and range to
Hanson said growers can download reporting
forms from the department’s website if they
want to begin keeping records in 2006 under a
Mitch Lies is based in Salem. His e-mail
address is email@example.com.