Agricultural Commissioner - Sealer of Weights & Measures


The Agricultural Commissioner is responsible for administering 2 budget units, which are the Agricultural / Weights and Measures and the Wildlife Services budget.

The Agricultural Commissioner provides environmental protection through agricultural pest exclusion, detection, pesticide use enforcement, and support of USDA animal damage control program; protects consumers by inspecting / testing all commercial weighing devices and enforcing package label laws.


  • PEST EXCLUSION - This program provides the first line of defense for California agriculture. Inspections provide protection from introduction of insect and disease pests that may introduced into the state through the movement of plants and plant products as well as other items through normal channels of trade.
  • PEST DETECTION - This program provides the second line of defense against exotic pests through the early detection of new introductions before they become widely established.  Traps are placed in primarily urban areas to detect such insect pests as Mediterranean and Mexican fruit flies, Gypsy Moth, Japanese Beetle, and a host of other targeted pest species.  Through early detection the likelihood of these pests becoming established in the state is lessened and the cost and environmental impact of eradication is minimized.  
  • PEST ERADICATION - Pest eradication programs are often conducted following the discovery of an introduced pest species.  Often these projects are partially or completely under the jurisdiction of the California State Department of Food and Agriculture.  However, the Agricultural Commissioner is often involved as the liaison to local government.  In some cases, the Agricultural Commissioner has a more active role as is the case in enforcing host free periods for Pink Bollworm, a serious pest of cotton, or in the eradication of Red Imported Fire Ant in Southern California.
  • PEST MANAGEMENT - The Agricultural Commissioner is charged with the responsibility of managing nuisance pests of agriculture and human health.  Many of these pests are recently introduced species that have become established despite the best efforts of the commissioners to keep them out.  An example would be the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter that is under intensive control efforts in several southern counties while eradication efforts continue in counties further north.  Others are common pests such as ground squirrels, voles, gophers and noxious invasive weeds that can be serious pests of agriculture and urban areas alike.  The Agricultural Commissioner also conducts programs to establish and distribute biological controls for troublesome pests.  Examples of this activity date back to the earliest efforts to control cottony cushion scale in citrus through the distribution of vidalia ladybird beetle.  More recently, there have been successful efforts to distribute tiny wasps to control Ash White Fly, and continuing efforts to control Yellow Start Thistle, puncture vine and lerp psylid through the distribution of bio-control agents.
  • PESTICIDE USE ENFORCEMENT - This is a complex program that covers far more than its name implies.  This program was developed to provide for the proper, safe, and efficient use of pesticides essential for production of food and fiber and for protection of the public health and safety.  It also protects the environment from potentially harmful pesticides by prohibiting, regulating or ensuring proper stewardship of pesticides.  An important component of the program focuses on agricultural and pest control workers, ensuring safe working conditions, use of proper protective equipment and training for employees who work with or around pesticides.  Other components of the program include pesticide use reporting, incident investigations, outreach activities promoting best management practices, and monitoring applications in the field.
  • SEED CERTIFICATION - Inspections are performed at the retail and wholesale establishments that sell seeds.  Samples are drawn for germination and purity testing.  Labeling is inspected for compliance with state requirements.  Through this program, certification services are also performed for growers and processors, in cooperation with the California Crop Improvement Association.
  • NURSERY INSPECTION - Through this program the Agricultural Commissioner's staff inspects the growing, propagation, production and sale of nursery stock to assure cleanliness from pests, true variety and vigorous-healthy plants for sale to the consumer.
  • FRUITS, NUTS, AND VEGETABLE STANDARDIZATION - This program ensures compliance with California's minimum standards regarding quality and marketing of all produce commercially grown and/or marketed in the state.  Direct Marketing regulation and Organic law enforcement are part of a program that provides for local protection to growers, marketers and consumers.
  • APIARY INSPECTION - A program ensures that emphasizes the registration and site location of honeybee colonies in the county.  At the request of beekeepers or growers, the Agricultural Commissioner's staff inspect colonies for strength and health to ensure effective pollination.
  • CROP STATISTICS – As required by the California Food and Agricultural Code, the Agricultural Commissioner compiles and records information in the annual crop report regarding the gross production and value of the county’s commodities.  Various research institutions, schools, banks, agencies and businesses use this valuable information to the benefit of the local economy.  Also, disasters to agriculture are surveyed and the information collected is used by other agencies offering disaster relief.  Statistics promote and protect the continued production and prosperity of agriculture in California.


  • COMMERCIAL DEVICES – “Commercial” devices are those used in channels of trade to determine a value based on weight, measure, or county.  It is the duty of the County Sealer to assure an equitable marketplace where the accuracy and appropriate use of such devices is sustained.  County Sealers test the performance of commercial devices using standards that are traceable to world standards in order to maintain uniformity.  The type of device is also inspected for suitability for their application and use.  Once determined that the device will be used correctly and is accurate, the inspector affixes a paper seal certifying the device is “correct”. 
  • County Sealers inspect and test various types of weighing and measuring devices, including’ gasoline dispensers, propane/butane meters, tai meters, odometers on ambulances, farm milk tanks, pharmacy scales, deli counter scales, livestock scales, concrete batch plant scales, truck scales, etc.  Sealers inspect approximately 282,000 such devices in California each year.
  • QUANITY CONTROL – Ensuring equity in the marketplace involves more than certifying a device’s capability of giving precise measurements.  Whenever a specified volume of consumer goods is placed in a container or package its “net content” is required to be stated on the package label (net content meaning the measured amount of consumer goods contained, excluding the package).  Using approved statistical procedures Sealers inspect the net content of packaged goods to determine if the proper weight, measure, or count is being used at wholesale as well as in retail sales.  Packages found deficient are removed from sale.  Additionally, packages are examined for compliance with the basic labeling requirements set in federal guidelines.  Sealers also “test purchases” to verify that consumers are charged accurately and correctly.  These test purchases” include check stand surveys to insure accurate scanner pricing.
  • PETROLEUM PRODUCTS – Petroleum advertising and labeling regulations strictly enforced by County Sealers provide product identity and information to the seller as well as the buyer.  Test samples are randomly purchased to verify compliance with quality standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).  Undercover purchases are one of the many tools available to investigate consumer complaints and to evaluate compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.
  • WEIGHMASTER – Virtually all of commerce is dependent upon the functions of weighmasters.  Weighmasters are persons licensed by the DMS to certify the weighted, measured, or counted quantity of any commodity whenever both parties to the transaction are not present at the time that quantity is determined.  Weighmasters issue certificates as a record indicating the amount, as well as how and where the quantity was determined.  These “weighmaster certificates” are recognized as legal documentation of the quantities determined and indicated thereon.  Businesses and individuals rely upon the information contained as being “certifiably” accurate as the basis of payment in their transactions.  In the event of any dispute of such magnitude, courts of law rely on these certificates as a foundation for determining settlement.
  • Specific criteria are established in the law for weighmasters to follow when issuing weighmaster certificates.  Sealers conduct audit inspections of thousands of weighmaster records to verify correctness and completeness of the required information.  Compliance with established weighmaster procedures is determined from these audit inspections, as well as “under-cover” weighing inspections.  In many cases, Sealers work in cooperation with the DMS to offer training to ensure the correctness of weighmaster certificates issued.  The actions taken by Sealers help prevent/reduce costly errors and fraudulent business practices.  It is a misdemeanor to ask a weighmaster to issue a false or fraudulent weighmaster certificate.
  • SERVICE AGENTS – Each company and person who sells, rents, installs, services, or repairs commercial weighing and measuring devices is required to be licensed with DMS as a Service Agency (company) or a Service Agent (person).  Licensing requirements of Service Agents helps to maintain the integrity of the service/repair industry.  Agencies/agents must report their work to County Sealers.  County Sealers review the work of Service Agents, thus validating their accuracy and verifying the appropriate use of devices.  

Crop & Livestock Reports

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2013 CROP REPORT Cover