12. Final Notes
A few final comments about the full use reporting program will provide a more realistic perspective of DPR's goals for this program.
First, it should be recognized that with the complexity of the program, coupled with the large volume of data being processed, 100 percent accuracy will never be achieved. The error rates for counties processing their own use reports have dropped to 0.5 to 1.0 percent. This is a significant improvement over data processed in-house. It reflects a statistically acceptable level of accuracy for a program of this size. DPR recognizes that even a few errors often reflect negatively on the value of the program. Therefore, as part of its continuous improvement efforts, DPR systematically identifies and carries out new data validations to further reduce the error rates.
Secondly, a great deal of the success in the implementation of the full use reporting program can be attributed to several factors: an existing regulatory program including limited pesticide use reporting; the county agricultural commissioner system has primary responsibility for the local program; existing computer systems including hardware and application software that were being used by most the counties for their restricted materials program; and the exceptional commitment by all county and department staff to make the program work.
Finally, because of the variety of and changes in topography, weather and soil conditions, pest and disease pressures in California, the agricultural practices vary from region to region and year to year. New integrated pest management systems are being developed and used and reduced-risk pesticide and biological products are being marketed to address food safety, health and environmental issues. These factors influence pesticide use in California; what was once considered the norm is no longer the "norm." Change will continue to occur at even a more rapid pace; pesticide use patterns and trends will fluctuate. Our challenge is to be aware of these issues in analyzing PUR data and in designing systems to effectively and efficiently manage programs and resources.
DPR remains fully committed to improving the quality and usefulness of the pesticide use data. DPR welcomes all constructive suggestions for improving and streamlining the program and will respond as part of its ongoing review and analysis of the program.