In answer to my question at the SpraySafe luncheon yesterday, state pesticide chief Brian Leahy said 2011 and 2012 data on pesticide use throughout the state should be released "any day."
"I looked at the data yesterday," the director said, "we changed from one computer system to another and when you do that, sometimes these things take more time."
According to Pesticide Action Network, last year state authorities were not sure that they were going to make the data publicly available. That predated the appointment of the current director.
Leahy, a Brown appointee, has a long history of involvement with organic farming in California and Nebraska, and served as the executive director of the California Certified Organic Farming group from 2000-2004.
In his brief remarks yesterday at the SpraySafe event in Stockton organized by the San Joaquin Valley Farm Bureau, he spoke about the necessity of pesticides for food security but also emphasized the role of the farmer in guaranteeing worker and public health and safety along with environmental protection.
"In the old days, like back in the 80s, we all remember those times when neighbor's spray drifted across and perhaps we'd start to itch, and our eyes would tear up and then you'd get that jittery feeling. A worker would go home and put the shirt they were wearing when they applied pesticide into the washer along with their kids' clothes. Those days are over."
He pointed out that trends today focus on getting the pesticide on the target as narrowly as possible and avoiding getting it onto people, water systems, air, or the environment.
March 3, 2013: A visit to the online portal for pesticide information shows that the department has announced it will be releasing the 2011 and 2012 pesticide data in June 2013.