Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Brand owners--be on lookout for WSDA letter in November

By Mike Louisell

More than 6,000 brand holders will receive notices starting this week reminding livestock owners it’s time to renew their brands. Current livestock brands expire on Dec. 31.

Every four years WSDA renews brands and updates its popular brand book, a large volume showing brands that often have been in families for decades. The brands, featuring quarter circles, anchors, channel irons and a host of other symbols, show ownership of the animal and deter theft.

It’s been said that a brand is your livestock’s best return address, comparable to the title you carry in your vehicle to prove ownership. That is because brands are unique to specific ranches and other properties and the families that own them.

Brands not renewed can be re-recorded after a one-year holding period. WSDA typically advertises available brand designs in the “Ketch Pen,” published by the Washington Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Association.

The cost to renew your brand is $120, good for four years. Payment can be made with check, money order or credit card. Go to www.agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/Livestock or call (360) 902-1855 for more information on livestock brands.

Pre-order your 2016 Brand Book now

Take advantage and pre-order a copy of the 2016 Brand Book when you renew your brand. The book will be available next summer, but supplies will be limited for those who do not pre-order. Costs are $25 for a printed copy or $10 for the e-book on CD-ROM.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Tour of Lincoln County marijuana farm draws connections with WSDA

Erik Johansen
Pesticide Management Division

On a sunny September morning, I met with Tai Saito at Buddy Boy Farms, a marijuana farm located north of Reardan in Lincoln County. Tai is the warehouse manager at Buddy Boy.

I’d been helping answer some of Tai’s questions about what pesticides are allowed for use on marijuana. I’ve worked on developing criteria for these allowable pesticides and consulting with this new industry since legal recreational marijuana production and use was approved by Washington voters in 2012.

Tai let me stop by to see the farm and learn more about their operation. I met the farm owner, Steve Walser, and his daughter Galadriel, who were very open and welcoming.

In the outdoor growing area, I saw several different varieties of marijuana plants. The biggest was over ten feet tall. Steve also showed me some shorter varieties, including one with purple coloration. The plants were drip irrigated and looked very healthy.

Steve said they are growing about 20 varieties of marijuana, and they anticipate a good harvest this year. Last year they grew about 75 varieties, and had selected varieties best suited to their operation.

Steve’s enthusiasm was infectious – he encouraged me to smell each variety. It reminded me of visiting hop farms in Central Washington. The aroma of some varieties of marijuana buds is similar to hops. We toured several greenhouses full of healthy looking plants. A nursery of young marijuana plants will replace the plants ready for harvest.

In a packaging room were scales that had been certified by the WSDA Weights and Measures Program. Steve and Tai praised the Weights and Measures inspector, saying he had provided several helpful suggestions.

It was really helpful for me to see this farm, and gain a better understanding of how WSDA is working with marijuana growers and processors. See our Marijuana and Hemp Information Web page to learn more about WSDA’s role. Along with providing information on allowable pesticides and certifying scales, we inspect processing facilities making marijuana-infused edibles.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Selling pesticides online in Washington State

Catherine Bowman
Pesticide Management Compliance

Are you or do you want to distribute, sell, barter, or supply pesticides online in Washington State? If yes, read on. Here’s what you should know. 

First, you need a Pesticide Dealer license if you’re distributing any pesticides in Washington other than those for “home and garden use only” an actual legal definition determined by WSDA.

Second, a Pesticide Dealer may only distribute pesticides in Washington that are registered with WSDA and it’s the Pesticide Dealer’s responsibility to make sure products offered for sale in our state are registered.

Finally, to buy what are known as Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) as defined by the federal government or the state, you must be certified, or licensed, by WSDA. 

Maintaining this license requires you to keep sales records for pesticides, except, once again, those classified by WSDA as being for “home and garden use only.” These records must be maintained for seven years. You can learn more about recordkeeping on our website. 

What is a pesticide? 

Pesticides include, but are not limited to:
  • Any substance or mix of substances intended to prevent, destroy, control, repel, or mitigate any insect, rodent, snail, slug, fungus, weed, and any other form of plant, animal life or virus. The exceptions are viruses in people or in an animal that’s already a pest . 
  • Any substance or mix of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant or desiccant, something inducing dryness.
  • Any spray adjuvant, which is a substance added to a spray tank to improve pesticide performance.
See our website for a list of pesticide examples at Selling Pesticides Online.

Be familiar with legal requirements for doing business in Washington State. Most companies, including out-of-state businesses, need some type of business registration or licensing through the State Department of Revenue’s (DOR) Business Licensing Service.  For more information, visit DOR’s Doing business page. 

If you are distributing pesticide products other than for home and garden use, you will need to complete the Agricultural Addendum to become licensed as a Pesticide Dealer

For the answer to “Which pesticides in the state of Washington require a license to purchase and apply them?” see Selling Pesticides Online under that question heading. 

With questions regarding the Business License or Pesticide Dealer licenses, contact DOR’s Business Licensing Service at 800-451-7985.  


Give WSDA a call at 877-301-4555. From the menu options, select: 
  • “Licensing” for questions about pesticide licensing. 
  • “Laws” for questions about recordkeeping or distribution of RUPs.
  • “Registration” for questions about registration of pesticides and classification as home and garden use only.

Image courtesy of sixninepixels at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

STAR-certified schools practice sustainable pest management

Juliann Barta
EPA Region 10*

What do control methods for discouraging pests (i.e. bugs and such) have to do with schools? Four school districts were recently recognized at a Seattle event for their sustainable pest management practices.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a common sense approach to managing pests that focuses on preventing the conditions that encourage them. On Oct. 1, Washington State University Extension convened a school IPM event that was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through a partnership with WSDA. 
Speakers and school district representatives at the
IPM school event on Oct. 1, 2015

Carrie Foss, WSU’s Urban IPM director, along with Dr. Thomas Green, president of the IPM Institute of North America, evaluated and recognized the school districts of Kelso, Mukilteo, Lake Washington and Federal Way Public Schools for receiving IPM Institute of North America STAR certification. 

Other districts in Washington noted for their IPM certification include Bellevue, Marysville, Colville, Pasco, Walla Walla, South Kitsap, North Thurston, and Vancouver Public Schools.

Dr. Green spoke at the event and talked about the benefits of IPM for schools. These include reducing the risk of pests and pesticide exposure, creating a healthier school environment for our children, and saving schools money in treatment and energy costs.   

Another speaker, Jim Jones, EPA's chief of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said everyone has a role, from the federal government to school district staff, to make IPM a widespread practice. 

WSDA is on the Urban Pesticide Education Strategy Team, a group of state organizations that address urban pesticide issues in Washington. Visit www.schoolipm.wsu.edu to learn more about the team and school IPM resources

*Editor's note: EPA Region 10 submitted this post as a partner collaborating with WSDA to support IPM practices.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Director's statement on reauthorization of the Grain Standards Act

Derek Sandison
Director of WSDA 

I am gratified to learn that President Obama has signed the reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act, without which WSDA’s Grain Inspection Program would not be able to continue. I want to thank both the President and our leaders in Congress for acting before the authorization expired.

An inspector at WSDA's
Spokane grain inspection
Washington has a robust wheat industry which depends upon reliable and credible inspections that ensure product quality and market confidence. WSDA’s Grain Inspection Program offers this, providing high quality, third-party inspections of grain for both domestic and export markets. The reauthorization of the Act ensures that this service will continue.

But reauthorization of the Act means more than the continuity of business for WSDA. It also means that domestic grain inspection services can continue in 45 other states across the country.

I recognize the importance of the uninterrupted movement of grain for both domestic and export markets, and I'm pleased that the Act as reauthorized provides additional measures to support consistent inspection services without interruption.

I want to thank all of those who worked so hard to get this important piece of legislation approved. We look forward to continuing to provide excellent service to the grain industry.