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Independent Study Recommends Phased Increase of the Mill to Ensure Sufficient Funding for Department of Pesticide Regulation Programs and Sustainable Pest Management

The mill, a fee paid by pesticide retailers or manufacturers when a pesticide is first sold in California, has not increased in nearly two decades; state-funded study documents need for fee increase to address long-term department funding needs.

2023-24 state budget provides immediate funding to begin to address the department’s most urgent needs.

DPR logo
Julie Henderson
California state seal
Gavin Newsom

Yana Garcia
Secretary for Environmental Protection

Leia Bailey, Communications Director
(916) 445-3974 |
August 15, 2023

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) today released the results of an independent study designed to evaluate the department’s main funding source, the mill fee. The study examined proposed structures and rates to provide long-term sustainable funding that would allow DPR to continue to fulfill its mission and incentivize sustainable pest management.

To accelerate the transition to sustainable pest management in California, the 2021-2022 state budget funded an investment in the independent Mill Assessment Study to assess the long-term funding needs for the department. The study found that DPR is critically underfunded, which jeopardizes its ability to continue to operate foundational programs that protect people and the environment from pesticide risks. The study also found that the department lacks funding to support the development and implementation of safer, more sustainable alternatives for effectively managing pests, including bacteria, rodents, insects and weeds, in agricultural, urban and wildland settings.

To help ensure long-term, stable funding for the department, the Mill Assessment Study recommends a phased-in increase of the mill – from the current $0.021 for every dollar in sales, up to $0.0339 per dollar in sales. The study also recommends the consideration of a future tiered mill structure to support and incentivize sustainable pest management.

Over the last several decades, the department has added and expanded essential programs to address the risks and impacts of pesticide use on people and the environment, incorporate new technologies for studying and monitoring pesticide risks, and engage with communities impacted by pesticide use – but the current mill assessment has not increased in nearly 20 years. Since 2013, the department has been operating with a structural imbalance.

Critically, the 2023-24 state budget provides $1.9 million in immediate funding to begin to address the department’s most urgent funding needs for pesticide registration and evaluation and strategic planning and initial implementation of the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap, and to study fumigant pesticide alternatives.

Adequate, stable, long-term funding is essential for the department to scientifically and efficiently evaluate pesticides for safe use in California; monitor pesticides in air and water; track reported human health impacts; consider of emerging science related to pesticide risks; mitigate pesticide-related risks; and enforce pesticide use laws and regulations that keep workers, communities and the environment safe. An efficient registration and evaluation process is essential to address changing pest pressures and efficacy of current and future pest management tools and resources.

“This study highlights the urgent need to provide short- and long-term funding for the department to continue to improve protections for people and the environment and ensure the availability of safe, effective pest management tools,” DPR Director Julie Henderson said. “The way pests are managed impacts human health and the environment. The department needs effective long-term, stable funding to ensure pest management approaches across the state protect people and the environment and support agriculture, community well-being and our wildlands.”

In January 2023, a group of diverse stakeholders released the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California to chart a course for pest management approaches in California that address human health and equity, consider broader environmental factors, support community well-being, and safeguard the future of our agricultural and food supply sector. The recommended mill increase would provide needed long-term support for foundational department work and fund the accelerated statewide transition to sustainable pest management. The increase would also fund pesticide-related programs at the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the pesticide enforcement programs on a local level that are implemented by county agricultural commissioners.

“To truly build a healthy and safe California for all, we must transition to sustainable pest management and decrease our dependence on high-risk pesticides. That includes ensuring DPR has adequate, long-term funding to expedite the registration of safer tools and improve its evaluation of currently registered pesticides,” said CalEPA Secretary Yana Garcia. “DPR plays a vital role in protecting human health and the environment from potential pesticide exposure, but it needs additional resources to continue to fulfill its mandate and move forward with the implementation of the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap.”

See DPR’s website for more information on the mill study.


The California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. The department achieves this mission by fostering safer, sustainable pest management and operating a robust pesticide regulatory system. DPR’s work includes registering all pesticides sold or used in California, conducting pre- and post-registration scientific evaluations of pesticides to assess and mitigate potential harm to human health or the environment for pesticides in the air and water, and enforcing pesticide use laws and regulations in coordination with 55 County Agriculture Commissioners and their 500 field inspectors.

DPR also conducts outreach to ensure pesticide workers, farmworkers and local communities have access to pesticide safety information. More information about DPR can be found on our website.


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