Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures January Update

Written By: Tony Linegar, Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer
Published: January 2, 2020

2019 Fall Plastic Container Recycle Day Recap

On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures held its’ second container recycling event for 2019.  This free event gives our local farmers, nurseries, pest control businesses, golf courses, parks, and government agencies the opportunity to recycle empty, non-reusable plastic pesticide containers which would otherwise end up in the landfill. During the fall event, 46 participants recycled roughly 10,800 pounds of plastic.  All participants must fill out a Pesticide Container Rinse Certification, which certifies the containers are clean and have been triple rinsed in accordance with Section 6684 of the California Code of Regulations.

Due to the Kincade Fire, the event was delayed two weeks and was unable to be hosted at the Healdsburg Road Yard.  Wilbur-Ellis graciously allowed the use of their facility.  A big thank you to Wilbur-Ellis and their staff for accommodating the event.  With a two-man crew, Interstate Ag Plastics processes the pesticide containers on-site, chipping the plastic into half-inch pieces.  The material is then hauled to the Central Valley where it is distributed and processed into acceptable end-use products.  Some of these products include agriculture drainpipe, highway and agricultural fence posts, and industrial pallets for agriculture chemical and seed packaging.  Since the creation of the ACRC (Ag Container Recycling Council) in 1992, 175,000,000 pounds of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic has been recycled.

2019 Grower Workshop Recap

On Thursday, December 5, 2019, the Department held its’ 23rd annual Grower Workshop.  This event is held the first Thursday in December every year at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building.  Open to the public, this workshop offered presentations on new and existing regulations, updates to the VESCO program, and information on new invasive pests to agriculture in Sonoma County.  The workshop was approved for two hours of continuing education through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, which allows state pesticide applicator license holders and Private Applicator Certificate holders to help keep their licenses current.  There were over 300 attendees at this year’s event.

The Department would like to thank Cindy Kron, the new Integrated Pest Management Advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, and Sidney Bastura with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for presenting at this year’s workshop.  The Department would also like to thank the University of California Cooperative Extension, USDA Farm Services, and Sonoma County Farm Bureau for setting up informational booths in the lobby.

Please contact the Department at (707) 565-2371 to schedule an appointment to renew your Operator ID or Restricted Materials Permit if needed.  Appointments are filling up quickly.

Save the date – the 2020 Grower Workshop will be held on December 3, 2020.

Crop Report Surveys

The 2019 crop report survey is now underway! The crop report surveys have been mailed out.  Additionally, surveys can be completed and submitted online www.sonomacounty.ca.gov/AWM.  Your response is vital to providing an accurate representation of our county’s agricultural industry so, please fill out your response and return to our office as soon as possible.  All return information can be found in the survey.

Each county’s Department of Agriculture is mandated to provide a crop report showcasing a statistical description of their agricultural production.  This report provides the agricultural marketplace with important information used in decision making for farming operations and for businesses serving and related to farming.  As always, all producer information gathered is strictly confidential and purely for statistical analysis.  This report shows gross production values only and does not share information about individual growers.

This is our yearly opportunity to recognize and showcase the farmers, ranchers, and businesses that represent Sonoma County agriculture.  We look forward to hearing from you. Questions and concerns may be addressed to Pierpaolo Aymar at (707) 565-2371.

The Taximeter

Before hiring a taxi company to transport you across town, customers should understand how traditional taximeters calculate the fee at the end of the ride.  Three rates factor into the fee: flag drop rate or minimum charge, mile rate, and waiting time rate or hourly rate.

California law permits taxi companies to charge a minimum fee for their service.  As soon as a customer steps into a taxi, the taximeter has already registered the flag drop rate.  From there, the taximeter will begin to charge a mile rate based on the linear measure of the traveled mile.  The linear measure is further broken down into fractions of a mile, commonly referred to as “drops”, with a “drop” charged every 1/10th of a mile.  Unless prohibited by local jurisdiction, taxi companies generally set their own rates.

Another feature of the taximeter is the clock timer measuring the passage of time.  Customers may be charged a waiting time fee for time spent in traffic on the way to the destination.  Customers will be charged a fee based on distance traveled or time spent waiting, but not both at the same time.  Once a taxi’s speed drops below a certain speed limit, the clock timer calculates the rate.

Today’s developing technologies are turning the traditional taxi business on its head.  The combination of smartphone use, Global Positioning System (GPS), and software ingenuity has revolutionized transportation services.  Some of the larger companies such as Uber and Lyft have reached out to state regulators in an effort to comply with state laws and regulations.  Preliminary testing has shown that these new technologies are just as accurate as the traditional taximeter.  This application of new technology has gotten out in front of legislators and regulators who are struggling to apply existing laws and regulations that have worked well for traditional taximeters but not as well with newer technologies.

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