After an odd incident in Madera County California a few months ago, “The Tulare County [California] Agricultural Commissioner's Office is advising farmers to ask agricultural inspectors to show their county-issued photo identification if they become suspicious about who is inspecting their operations,” said article from The Fresno Bee.
In a meeting in January, Robert Rolan, Madera County ag commissioner, told ag commissioners from other counties “that he had received three unusual reports of someone arriving at farm fields and asking farm workers questions such as ‘do you have your protective equipment?’ and ‘do you have washing equipment?’” stated the article.
With all of the recent problems with diseases and government inspection in the agriculture, horticulture and floriculture industries, especially in California, the farm workers just assumed the person was a county agriculture inspector due to the truck he was driving that was similar to the one that county inspectors drive. After some suspicion, the farmers contacted the local commissioner's office to double check the inspection, the office told the farmer no one was dispatched, according to The Fresno Bee.
According to Rolan in the article, there were two similar incidents reported the first of this year. ‘It was odd to get one report, and more odd to get two more,’ Rolan said. ‘A farm labor group could have been doing a survey,’” the article stated.
However, at least one group has stated that it was not responsible for the deceptive incidents. “It wasn't the United Farm Workers, said Reedley UFW office coordinator Juan Salazar. ‘We don't do that, for sure I can tell you that,’ Salazar said. Perhaps it was someone from another government agency, Salazar suggested.”
The commissioners are suggesting that all farm workers, managers, owners, etc. make sure to check an ID of anyone coming to ask questions about their facilities. There are many people speculating as to why these “visits” are taking place whether it is labor groups, people looking for illegal pesticide use or someone tying to make sure that disease precautions are being taken care of properly. It is something to look out for in the future, and if there is something suspicious going on make sure to contact your local county’s Ag commissioner’s office.