Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


U.S. EPA commits $40,000 to University of California Cooperative Extension for pesticide education program in Fresno County

Release Date: 10/14/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, 415-947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it will fund a two-year University of California Cooperative Extension outreach program geared towards educating farmers of Southeast Asian descent in Fresno County about the hazards of pesticide use..

The EPA Food Quality Protection Act Grants Program awarded $40,000 to this project, which begins in October.

The bilingual outreach program will include a series of workshops, on-farm demonstrations, quarterly newsletters and radio broadcasts in Hmong designed to reduce the reliance on "harsh" pesticides used by many of the recent immigrants and other farmers.

Fresno County is one of the top two agriculture producing counties in the world. The county's pesticide use, although in recent decline, reflects the agriculture intensity of the central valley, recording the highest pesticide use in the state in 2001.

The farm population in Fresno County is the most ethnically diverse in the state. Many of the farmers in the county are recent immigrants from Laos some farming in the U.S. for as little as five years. Language, technology, limited resources, new pests, new crops and falling prices are all challenges the minority farmer face here.

"Education about proper pesticide use and education about the use of 'friendly,' less dangerous pesticides is one of the most valuable lessons we can provide to minority farmers," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the Cross Media Division in the EPA's Pacific Southwest regional office in San Francisco. "I'm very glad that U/C Cooperative Extension has volunteered to do this work and I'm very glad that the EPA was able to fund it."

With the grant money, UC Cooperative Extension outreach workers will offer hands-on training to farmers where they can use the new knowledge the most in their fields.

For more information, visit: