4. Workload Considerations

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The first year of full use reporting produced close to 300 percent more agricultural use report records, from 640,000 in 1989 to 1.6 million in 1990. (A "record" means the application of one pesticide product and all associated data recorded on the reporting form. A pesticide "application" can be a single product or a combination of multiple products, such as a tank mix.) This far exceeded estimates by DPR and the county agricultural commissioners relative to the number of applications growers made of general use (nonrestricted) pesticides.

This increased workload impacted both DPR and the counties, and prompted DPR to analyze its operations and evaluate ways to address the problem. As a result, in 1991 DPR changed how it processed data. Rather than hire additional state employees, DPR modified data entry software so the counties could use it in conjunction with information already in their pesticide regulatory database. This significantly reduced the amount of data that must be entered. Moreover, the system can often identify potential problems in the use report when the data are entered (see section entitled "Processing the Data"). Further, county staff possess in-depth knowledge of agricultural practices in their county which proves invaluable when entering use report data. In addition, immediate contact can be made with a grower or person filing the report to solve minor problems. County data entry and electronic submittal to DPR have significantly improved the quality of the pesticide use data. The Department strives to have the data enter the system as close to the field as practicable.