Two County Agricultural/Standards Officers inspect employee safety records at a Chino agricultural business in 2020.

Inspired by a countywide culture of innovation created by the Board of Supervisors, San Bernardino County Agricultural/Weights & Measures (AWM) received an award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its ground-breaking approach to pesticide inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department was recognized as the first county in the state to offer this safety protocol to its customers. In total, the county set a new record of 160 NACo Achievement Awards this year under the leadership of the Board of Supervisors.

None of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties claimed more NACo awards this year than San Bernardino County, which nearly doubled the number of NACo awards it received last year, when it also led the nation.

“My colleagues on the Board of Supervisors and I know that by providing county departments with the resources and encouragement to innovate, we will provide county residents and employers with the highest level of public service,” said Third District Supervisor and Board Chair Dawn Rowe.

AWM performs regulatory inspections to protect the environment, the public and workers who handle pesticides. However, at the onset of the pandemic, these mandated in-person inspections were postponed. As the pandemic evolved, it became apparent that alternative methods of inspections would need to be explored as restrictions remained in place longer than expected.

The goal of the department was not only to adhere to the state and county COVID-19 safety guidelines for its own staff but for its customers as well. Agricultural/Standards Officers conduct in-person annual records inspections for the County’s pest control businesses that apply pesticides, including agricultural growers, cities and school districts.

A crucial part of the inspection process determines the business’s compliance in providing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees and training them on how to safely handle pesticides. Application and use records are also examined to determine if pesticides are being used properly and that customers are notified of what pesticide is applied and when.

The challenge to reduce, or eliminate, person-to-person contact during the pandemic led the department to use online applications, such as Zoom, Skype, or other cloud-based video conferencing software applications to conduct its inspections in a low-risk environment.

As a result, pest control businesses are now given the opportunity to choose from new options to conduct their records and employee safety inspections via video conferencing or using more traditional methods, such as emailing, faxing, or scheduling pick-up and delivery of records.

Both the customer and the department save in travel time while the department fulfills its state-mandated requirements and annual performance measures.

The department works closely with other county agriculture/weights & measures agencies in the state and expects others will follow this model since the online platforms are widely available at a low or no cost to the agency.

“This program is a great example of how the Board of Supervisors and San Bernardino County are leading the way in using technology and innovative thinking to create a county where residents and investors can prosper and achieve well-being, which is the heart of our Countywide Vision,” Rowe said.

For more information on the AWM department or its pesticide program, visit For more information about the Countywide Vision adopted by the County Board of Supervisors, visit

Additional County Update News – August 11, 2023

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