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State Takes Action Against Crop Duster Pilot

Contact: Charlotte Fadipe
916-445-3974 |
June 29, 2015 (15-6)

(Sacramento) – The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced today that it has suspended the license of a Northern California pest control aircraft pilot (commonly known as a crop duster) for violating state pesticide laws designed to protect public health and safety. DPR initiated action after the company was repeatedly fined by the agricultural commissioners in Sutter, Yolo and Placer counties.

This action means that effective immediately, Mark S. Minkema and his company, Twin Cities Aviation, Inc., from Yuba City are on probation for 18 months until December 15, 2016. Further, Minkema's pest control pilot's license will be suspended and he will not be allowed to fly his aircraft for pesticide applications during the peak season (January 1, 2016 through July 1, 2016).

"Applying pesticide safely and responsibly protects people and the environment," said Brian R. Leahy, DPR Director. "California will enforce the laws and regulations to safeguard the public, and take action to assure compliance."

Between February 2006 and July 2014 Minkema and Twin Cities Aviation violated pesticide laws on ten separate occasions. These violations included:

  • Causing pesticide drift to occur;
  • Failing to use personal protective equipment and;
  • Using a pesticide in conflict with the label.

View settlement agreement here:


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