Frequently Asked Questions

Stacy K. Carlsen, Agriculture, Weights and Measures - Marin County
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Agriculture- Nurseries

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Agriculture - Organic Production

  • How do I become Organic?

    To become certified, you must apply to a USDA-accredited certifying agent. They will ask you for information, including:

    • A detailed description of the operation to be certified.
    • A history of substances applied to land during the previous three years.
    • The organic products grown, raised, or processed.
    • A written Organic System Plan describing the practices and substances to be used.

    Organic Certification Process:

    • Producer or handler adopts organic practices; submits application and fees to certifying agent
    • Certifying agent reviews applications to verify that practices comply with USDA organic regulations
    • Inspector conducts an on-site inspection of the applicant’s operation
    • Certifying agent reviews the application and the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant complies with the USDA organic regulations
    • Certifying agent issues organic certificate

    Annual Recertification Process:

    • Producer or handler provides annual update to certifying agent
    • Inspector conducts an on-site inspection of the applicant’s operation
    • Certifying agent reviews the application and the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant still complies with the USDA organic regulations
    • Certifying agent issues organic certificate
  • What can be called Organic?

    Every operation operating in California that is producing, handling, or processing products sold as organic must register with the California State Organic Program. If an operation’s annual gross sales exceed $5,000 the operation must also be certified organic by a certifying agent.

  • Will you certify my business Organic?

    Currently Marin Organic Certified Agriculture certifies operations located in Marin and southern Sonoma County.

  • If my business is Organic, can I use pesticides?

    Yes. Organic operations may use some specified pesticides for pest, weed, and disease control. Specified pesticides can be used only after pest prevention methods are employed and do not control pests sufficiently. A list of the pesticides allowed for organic use, and the conditions that apply to them, is located in the USDA National Organic Program Standards.

  • If my business is Organic, do I have to report my pesticide use?

    Yes. Pesticides used in organic operations are regulated exactly the same manner as all pesticides in the state of California, and their use must be reported to the County Agricultural Commissioner Department.

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Farmers' Markets

  • How do I sell my products at the Famers’ Market?
    • Contact the market manager of the market you would like to sell at directly to see if they are accepting new vendors. See our website for a list of the markets and contact information.
    • Contact our department to obtain an application for a Certified Producer’s Certificate. An onsite inspection to verify growing grounds is required. For fee information see the fee schedule of our website.
  • How do I renew my Certified Producers Certificate (CPC)?

    CPC’s always expire at the end of each calendar year and it is the responsibility of the producer to ensure his/her CPC is current when selling at a certified farmers' market. For renewal, contact our department with any changes to your certificate at least 2 weeks prior to expiration. For fee information see the fee schedule of our website. CPC’s may be revised any time during the year at no additional cost; however an additional site inspection may be required.

  • How do I start a new Farmers’ Market?

    Contact our department to obtain an application.

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General Information

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Pesticides

  • What is my fee this year?

    Our fees are subject to change at any time, so the best resource for determining your current fee is to view our online fee schedule.

  • How do I become a professional Pest Control Applicator / professional Maintenance Gardner?

    To obtain professional licensing, please visit the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s website. All pesticide-related licenses (Qualified Applicator License / Qualified Applicator Certificate) are issued by the State of California.

  • Do I need a Maintenance Gardner Business License?
    You must possess a Maintenance Gardener Pest Control Business (MGB) License if you are a maintenance gardener who occasionally engages in pest control in support of your primary gardening business for hire (Food and Agricultural Code (FAC) section 11704a).

    You are a Maintenance Gardener if your maintenance gardening activities include mowing lawns, engaging in general yard cleanup, and/or taking care of ornamental and turf plants in:

    • Outdoor ornamental and garden areas surrounding public structures, such as buildings, brick walls, fountains, fences, statues;
    • Outdoor ornamental and garden areas surrounding commercial parks, such as, offices, restaurants, warehouses, factories, stores, shopping centers, malls;
    • Parks, golf courses, cemeteries, but only on ornamental or turf plantings near buildings (clubhouses, pro shops, restrooms) that are distinct and separate from the plantings that constitute open space landscaping in a park, golf course or cemetery itself.

  • What is required to register my Maintenance Gardener business with your County?

    Before you conduct any work, you must register your maintenance gardener business license with the county agricultural commissioner's office in each county in which your business intends to perform pest control. Registration is required annually and expires on December 31st. There is a fee for registration (please see our fee schedule). Most counties require a fee for registration and registration is required annually and covers one calendar year (All registration expires on December 31st of each year).

    To register your business in your HOME county, the individual who possesses the QAL card must make an appointment with our office and present the following items to the county agricultural commissioner's office for processing:

    • Current and valid Maintenance Gardener Business License
    • Current and valid Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC) or QAL
    • Inventory of pest control equipment including number and kind of equipment.
    • A Check for your Annual fee 

    Note: please make checks payable to “Marin County Department of Agriculture.”

    If Marin County is not your home county – that is, your main office is located in another County – you must first register with your home county, obtain current/valid imprinted PCO registration form from your home county.

    Once you’ve registered with your home county, you can mail a copy of your registration to us along with:

    1. Current and valid Maintenance Gardener Business License
    2. Current and valid imprinted Maintenance Gardener Business registration form from your home county
    3. Inventory of pest control equipment including number and kind of equipment
    4. A Check for your Annual fee 

    Note: please make checks payable to “Marin County Department of Agriculture.”

  • When do I need a Pest Control Business License?

    You must possess a pest control business license if you are a person or business who performs pest control for hire (i.e., advertising, soliciting, or operating as a pest control business). This licensing requirement applies to both principle and branch locations.

    Types of pest control business include but are not limited to:

    • Businesses that perform ground, aquatic, and/or aerial pest control applications
    • Farm management or golf course management companies when their services include pest control
    • Packing houses, shippers, storage facilities, and other processors who treat agricultural commodities owned by another person or firm (does not include cooperatives)
    • Companies that perform pest control on rights-of-way, parks, golf courses, cemeteries, and nurseries
    • Companies that sanitize institutional portable lines, dairy milk lines, and other similar areas
    • Companies that treat cooling towers and evaporative condensers
  • What is required to register my Pest Control Business with your County?

    Before you conduct any work, you must register your pest control business license with the county agricultural commissioner's office in each county in which your business intends to perform pest control. Registration is required annually and expires on December 31st. There is a fee for registration (please see our fee schedule). Most counties require a fee for registration and registration is required annually and covers one calendar year (All registration expires on December 31st of each year).

    To register your business in your HOME county, the individual who possesses the QAL card must make an appointment with our office and present the following items to the county agricultural commissioner's office for processing:

    1. Current and valid Pest Control Business License
    2. QAL card with appropriate pest control category(ies)
    3. Inventory of pest control equipment including number and kind of equipment
    4. Annual fee

    If Marin County is not your home county – that is, your main office is located in another County – you must first register with your home county, obtain current/valid imprinted PCO registration form from your home county.

    Once you’ve registered with your home county, you can mail a copy of your registration to us along with:

    1. Current and valid Pest Control Business License
    2. Current and valid imprinted Pest Control Business registration form from your home county
    3. Inventory of pest control equipment including number and kind of equipment
    4. Annual fee

    Note: please make checks payable to “Marin County Department of Agriculture.”

  • What is required to register my Structural Branch 1 Pest Control Business with your County?

    For both home based and out of county businesses, you may register by mail or in person every calendar year. The following is required to register your business:

    1. Structural Branch 1 Pest Control Operator Registration Form must be completely and accurately filled out
    2. Annual fee

    Note: please make checks payable to “Marin County Department of Agriculture.”

  • What is required to register my Structural Branch 2/3 Pest Control Business with your County?

    For both home based and out of county businesses, you may register by mail or in person every calendar year. The following is required to register your business:

    1. Structural Branch 2/3 Pest Control Operator Registration Form must be completely and accurately filled out
    2. Annual fee

    Note: please make checks payable to “Marin County Department of Agriculture.”

  • What is required to register my Pest Control Advisor License with your County?

    To register your PCA License in your HOME county, the individual possessing the license must make an appointment with our office and present the following items to the county agricultural commissioner's office for processing:

    1. Current and valid Pest Control Advisor License
    2. Annual fee

    If your PCA operation is headquartered outside of Marin County, you must first register with your home county Department of Agriculture.

    Once you’ve registered with your home county, you can mail a copy of your registration to us along with:

    1. Current and valid imprinted PCA registration form from your home county
    2. A Check for your Annual fee

    Note: please make checks payable to “Marin County Department of Agriculture.”

  • Do I have to report my pesticide use?

    If you are engaged in pesticide use for hire (or as an incidental part of your landscape business) or you are using pesticides on an agricultural commodity, you must report your pesticide use to the Marin Department of Agriculture.

  • Submit my pesticide use reports
  • How do I get my spray permit?

    For businesses engaged in Agricultural production, please call our office (415) 473-6700 to make an appointment to renew or obtain your operator ID number / restricted material permit. These are good for one calendar year (expire on December 31st every year) and must be renewed annually prior to your first pesticide application.

  • How can I take the structural pest control applicator examination – what do I need to do?

    Please contact our office to make an appointment. We offer the exam at our office on the first Wednesday of every month. The test is offered between 8:30 and 11:30 am. Additionally, you can find some study materials available on Structural Pest Control Board’s website.

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Pests

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Scanners and Scales

  • What is a scanner/Point of Sale (POS) system, why do I have to register with the County?

    A scanner/POS system is any computer or electronic system including, but not limited to, a Universal Product Code (UPC) system, a Price Look Up (PLU) system, a Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) system, price lookup codes or any other electronic price lookup system.

    The Marin County Board of Supervisors has adopted a Point of Sale ordinance to charge an annual registration fee for the purpose of determining the pricing accuracy (through regular inspections) of retail establishments that use a scanner/POS system.

  • What is a scanner/point of sale (POS) inspection?

    An inspection to verify that the scanner/POS system is computing items at the correct (lowest advertised/ displayed) price.

  • What authority does Weights and Measures have?
  • What is involved in an inspection and what is expected of me?

    We want to ensure your POS system is charging or computing items at the lowest price that is advertised, posted, marked, displayed or quoted within the store, in an ad, or online.

    We randomly inspect 10 to 50 items from anywhere in the store, depending on the size of the store. We will need assistance from store personnel ringing up the items we have chosen for the inspection.

    • The inspection must represent a typical customer transaction and therefore the POS system can not be in training mode, manager’s mode, or any other mode that would not be used for a customer.
    • We will need you to issue us an original receipt, obtained as evidence of the prices charged, which must include the subtotal, tax and total.
    • We normally identify ourselves to the store owner or manager when we arrive for an inspection, except when we occasionally conduct undercover inspections.
  • Law expect of me

    Accurate pricing: your store is required to charge consumers the lowest advertised, posted, marked, displayed or quoted price. If a sale has ended, but the expired sale tag is still up, you are required to give the customer the item at the sale price. If something is marked 2/$4.00 (as an example), then one of those items must be $2.00 unless the conditions of that sale are clearly stated.

    Price display: the price of all goods and services must be displayed to the consumer at the POS system as they are being rung up.

  • What happens if I don’t pass the inspection?

    If overcharges are found, a Notice of Violation will be issued to the store. If there are pricing discrepancies, they must be corrected before we leave the store. There will be a follow up inspection within 30 days. Follow up inspections will not be random, but will focus specifically on problem areas of the store. A Notice of Violation is not a fine, but an opportunity for us to work together to identify and correct problems in a timely manner. Our philosophy is to gain compliance through education and outreach.

  • What are the costs that I can incur?

    Annual registration fee: An annual registration fee is charged and is based on the number of POS systems in the store. Please visit our website to view a current fee schedule.

    Reinspection fee: If we find pricing errors and have to return for a follow up inspection, you will be charged a reinspection fee.

    Civil Penalty: If we find pricing errors during our follow up inspection we may issue a Civil Penalty (a fine). Fine ranges are from $50-$1,000 depending on the severity of the pricing problems. In unusual circumstances where our department is unable to gain compliance, cases have been turned over to the District Attorney.

  • How often inspect our business

    Routine inspections are approximately every two years, unless there are problems. If there are pricing errors and you receive a Notice of Violation, we will be back within 30 days for a follow up inspection.

  • Device used for weighing or measuring

    All devices used for commercial purposes must be registered with the Department of Weights and Measures. Examples of devices are: scales; cordage, wire and fabric meters; taxi meters; water, gas and electric sub-meters; propane meters; vehicle tank meters; retail water meters and gas pumps. Routine inspections are conducted to check for accuracy of the device and to ensure they are being used correctly.

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Weights and Measures

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Wildlife

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