DPR/CAC Permit Mapping Developers Group
Recommendations for GIS Solutions
GIS Solutions for Interplanted, Multiple, and Sequential Commodities

Back to GIS and Permit/Use Mapping Development


As a follow up to the meeting held at the Kern County Agricultural Commissioner's Office on August 2, 2001, the GIS Developers Group met on September 12, 2001, at the Stanislaus County Agricultural Commissioner's office to draft recommended GIS solutions for agricultural sites having the following specialized commodity combinations: interplanted; multiple commodity/grower; or pre-determined sequential commodities. The following counties were represented at the meeting: Calaveras, Kern, Kings, Fresno, Marin, Merced, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, and Ventura. Please refer to an earlier document entitled "DPR/CAC Permit Mapping Developers Group Recommendations for Site Definition and Identification April 1998, Modified April 2000" for a detailed account of previously approved recommendations and guidelines.

DPR's GIS Developers Group has drafted the following recommendations for County Agricultural Commissioners wishing to implement a Geographic Information System (GIS) as a tool for mapping and tracking pesticide permitting and use at the county level. In order to bring a level of statewide consistency and uniformity to permitting and use reporting the following recommendations and guidelines for identifying sites should be implemented when using GIS. These guidelines have been developed by the GIS Developers Group, which is made up of staff from DPR's Pest Management and Licensing Branch and CAC staff who are implementing GIS systems in their respective counties. The guidelines are intended to bring a level of standardization to the system for analytical purposes, both at the county and state levels.

Recommendation A

  • All sites should have a defined status and should be uniquely identified by either:
    1. the combination of permit number and site identification number, or
    2. the combination of permit number, site identification number, and commodity code.
  • All sites must be either Active or Non-Active.
  • Active site: Any site that is currently permitted, usually a single site managed by one permit holder growing one commodity at any one time.
  • Non-active site: Any site that is not currently permitted.
  • Sites should be identified with either A or N in the Primary_status field of the shapefile attribute table.

Note: GIS allows sites to be related to a piece of ground, so it is no longer necessary to rely on sections as a means of identification. There is no need for site boundaries to be contained within a single section, removing the limitation of 640 acres and allowing sites to cross section lines if necessary. GIS allows section-based data to be superimposed over site information, thus spatial analysis may be used to identify sites that fall within sections that have these designations.

Recommendation B

  • Active sites may be further defined according to the specialized circumstances of interplanting, multiple occupancy, and pre-determined sequential rotation.

Interplanted Site: A site occupied by one permit holder growing two commodities. Usually one commodity is a permanent crop and the other a row crop. In the GIS, the interplanted site is represented by two stacked polygons, each one representing the total planted acreage of the site, since the total area of the site will undergo the same pest management practices.

The tabular permit data should reflect the total planted acreage for each commodity.

Multiple Site: A site farmed simultaneously by one or more permit holders with one or more commodities. A multiple site usually addresses the issue of small acreages having many small plantings of rotational commodities. The limit of the most manageable minimum acreage will be left to the discretion of each Commissioner. In the GIS, a multiple site is represented by multiple stacked polygons, each one representing a single commodity. The polygons will not reflect the actual planted acreage for each commodity but the total planted acreage of the site.

The tabular permit and use data should reflect the actual planted acreage of each grower/commodity. GIS generated maps should show the extent of the overall polygon, together with a table showing the commodities and their reported acreage.

Sequential Site: A site occupied by one permit holder who identifies multiple rotational commodities at one time, i.e., when the permit is issued. The permittee will determine the length of time required for each commodity to the nearest month. Only one commodity will be active at any one time. In the GIS, a sequential site will be represented by stacked polygons, each one representing a sequential commodity. The site activity will be determined in relation to the system date.

The tabular permit data should reflect the multiple rotational commodities for each site.

  • Sites should be identified with either I, M, or S in the Secondary_status field of the shapefile attribute table.

Recommendation C

  • Field Border Database Design Document





Feature Class:


Data Source:


Responsible Dept:


Polygon Attribute Table:


Polygon Index File:



Defined Item Name

Item Definition




Permit Number



Site ID Number



Date Active



Date Inactive



Primary Status



Secondary Status



Commodity Code



Permit Number Site ID



Permit/SiteID/Commodity Code




Item Descriptions


Polygon ID (internal use by ArcView)


Operator ID Number


Site identification number


Date the record was added as an active site


Date that record was inactivated


Primary Status of site, (A)ctive or (N)on-active


Secondary Status of site, (I)nterplanted, (M)ultiple, or (S)equential


Commodity Code


Concatenated permit and site id numbers (unique identifier)


Concatenated permit, site id, and commodity code (unique identifier)

Definition of Block and Appropriate Use--Revised Issue and Recommendation from April 2000

"Tracking pesticide use at block or site level"

Site--a contiguous area that has only one operator and undergoes the same pest management and cultural practices, preferably consisting of a single commodity or use at a time. Exceptions to this definition include (a) interplanted commodities and (b) sites less than "x" acres in size having multiple growers/commodities. The value for the most manageable minimum acreage will be left to the discretion of each Commissioner.

Block--a contiguous sub-division of a larger site having a single commodity, generally of the same variety, which the property operator manages as a single unit.

It is recommended that counties and growers identify fields/crops in the permit and the pesticide use report at the level that adequately provides the CAC with the information they need to meet CEQA requirements without placing on them undue burdens of workload and compliance. If growers are willing to provide information to the CAC at the block level and if adequate resources are available at the CAC to track and maintain spatial data at this level of detail, then CACs are encouraged to use blocks as a precise method of identifying agricultural field sites.