Established January 1, 1991 by Laws 1989, Chapter 162. Assumed responsibility for several stand-alone agencies, many that had existed since the early 1900’s. Statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§ 3-101 et seq.
Regulates and supports Arizona agriculture in order to encourage farming, ranching, and agribusiness while protecting consumers and natural resources. The Department of Agriculture is an executive agency headed by an appointed director. A.R.S. § 3-102 establishes six divisions: Animal Services Division, Plant Services Division, Environmental Services Division, Weights and Measures Services Division, the Pest Management Division, and the Citrus, Fruit and Vegetable Division.
The Animal Services Division is responsible for milk, dairy, livestock and aquaculture regulation, the state veterinarian, meat, poultry and egg inspection and the administrative functions authorized or contracted pursuant to law for the Arizona Beef Council.
The Plant Services Division is responsible for entomological services.
The Environmental Services Division is responsible for regulating seed, feed and agricultural chemicals, including pesticides and fertilizers, and for native plant protection.
The Weights and Measures Division is responsible for inspection, testing and licensing of commercial weighing, measuring and counting devices.
The Pest Management Division is responsible for regulating pest management and pest management services.
The Citrus, Fruit and Vegetable Division is responsible for citrus, fruit and vegetable standardization and for the Produce Safety Program.
Statute also established, separate from the divisions of the Department, a State Agricultural Laboratory, an Office of Agriculture Safety, an Office of Inspections, and an Office of Commodity Development and Promotion.
Enacted in 1989 with an effective date of January 1, 1991 (Laws 1989, Chapter 162), the Department assumed the responsibilities of several stand-alone agencies, including the Arizona Commission of Agriculture and Horticulture, the Arizona Livestock Sanitary Board, the State Veterinarian, the State Egg Inspection Board and the State Dairy Commissioner. Some of these agencies had existed since territorial days. The legislation included an effective date of January 1, 1991 in order to provide a transition period for the affected boards and commissions.
In 2008, the Office of Pest Management was established as part of the Department, replacing the Structural Pest Control Commission.
As of 2018, Department responsibilities included:
Agricultural Chemicals (previously with Agriculture and Horticulture).
Agricultural Consultation and Training Program (ACTP). Created in 1994, this program is responsible for increasing voluntary compliance and awareness of regulatory requirements and providing educational information on pesticide safety, air quality, and agricultural conservation. According to the Department, this compliance assistance program is unique to an agricultural regulatory agency. The program is not part of any of the Department’s enforcement programs, allowing the agricultural community to request assistance without regulatory intervention. The Agricultural Employment Relations Board contracts with the ACTP to provide administrative services.
Agriculture Lab (State) is responsible for analyzing seed samples. (Previously with Agriculture and Horticulture; associated with the State Chemist.)
Chemist, State (Previously the Office of the State Chemist and the State Agriculture Lab.)
Citrus Fruit and Vegetable Standardization and Fresh Produce Grade Inspection. Two programs, the Citrus Standardization Inspection Program and the Fruit and Vegetable Standardization Program were combined in 1989. (Previously with Agriculture and Horticulture.)
Dairy (Previously the State Dairy Commissioner, a stand-alone commission).
Egg Inspection (Previously the State Egg Inspection Board, a stand-alone board).
Environmental Services (previously with Agriculture and Horticulture). Handles agency licensing and seed sampling. Responsible for quality control of seed, feed, fertilizer and pesticides sold in Arizona.
Inspection and quarantine of plant pests (previously with Agriculture and Horticulture).
Livestock (Previously the Livestock Sanitary Board, a stand-alone board).
Native Plant law enforcement (previously with Agriculture and Horticulture).
Office of Pest Management (previously Arizona Structural Pest Control Commission). Laws 2008, Chapter 309 established the Office of Pest Management within the Department of Agriculture.
Pesticide Control, Board of (previously Board of Pest Control Applicators from 1953 until 1986 when it was absorbed by the Commission of Agriculture and Horticulture). The Commission of Agriculture and Horticulture became the Department of Agriculture.
Quality control of seed, feed, fertilizer and pesticides sold in Arizona (previously with Agriculture and Horticulture).
Research and promotional councils: Livestock and Crop Conservation Grant Program; Specialty Crop Block Grant Program; Arizona Citrus, Fruit and Vegetable Council; Cotton Research and Protection Council; Grain Research and Promotion Council; Arizona Citrus Research Council; Arizona Agricultural Protection Commission; and the Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council. (Note: the Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Promotion Council was repealed by the Legislature in 1994)
State Veterinarian. The Arizona State Veterinarian has always been affiliated with the Arizona Livestock Board.
In 2015, the Legislature abolished the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures (DWM), whose responsibilities were first established in 1912. Laws 2015, Chapter 244 divided the responsibilities of the DWM between the Arizona Department of Agriculture and the Arizona Department of Transportation. Effective July 1, 2016, the majority of DWM functions were transferred to the new Division of Weights and Measures Services within the Arizona Department of Agriculture. Regulation of for-hire transportation (taxis, limousines, livery vehicles) was transferred to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). See histories for DWM and ADOT, elsewhere in this document.
Legislation enacted in 2018 authorized the Department to assume primacy for the federal Produce Safety Rule (effective in 2016) which established standards to address likely causes of microbial contamination of produce that is generally eaten raw. Laws 2018, Chapter 48 modified Department authority to meet federal requirements; created the Citrus, Fruit and Vegetable Division within the Department; added two members to the Citrus, Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Council; and established the Produce Safety Trust Fund.
A second measure adopted in 2018 required the Director to develop a pilot program to research growth, cultivation and marketing industrial hemp; to adopt rules for licensing, production and management of industrial hemp; and to set fees to cover costs. Hemp seed must be certified by the Department. Production, manufacturing, distribution and commerce of industrial hemp is allowed if authorized by federal law. See Laws 2018, Chapter 287.
In 2019 several measures affecting Department responsibilities were enacted. Laws 2019, Chapter 5 required the Department to adopt initial rules for licensing, production, management and regulation of industrial hemp by May 31, 2019. The rule may be found in the Arizona Administrative Code, R3-4-1001 through R3-4-1014 and in the Administrative Register at Vol. 25, Issue 24, pages 1447-1455:
Laws 2019, Chapter 44 exempts food establishments that manufacture frozen desserts for on-site consumption from Department of Agriculture licensing requirements related to milk processing, if the establishment is regulated by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Specific requirements regarding food safety and pasteurization apply.
Laws 2019, Chapter 68 requires each division council established within the Department to be notified of relevant agenda items prior to a meeting of the Department of Agriculture Advisory Council. Specifies that although the Pest Management Division Council is authorized to advise the Director on matters pertaining to the pest management industry, the Pest Management Division Council is prohibited from making recommendations on individual cases, investigations or license applications to the Department Director. The measure also modifies certain administrative responsibilities of the Pest Management Division Council.
Laws 2019, Chapter 147 authorizes the Department to establish an egg promotion program to provide certification, inspection and grading services. Fees collected for inspections are deposited into the State Egg Inspection Trust Fund.
- Arizona Agricultural Protection Act (A.R.S. §3-3301, repealed by Laws 2017, Chapter 315, Section 1)
- Apiary program (A.R.S. § 3-801, repealed by Laws 1994, Chapter 337)
- Agricultural Best Management Practices Advisory Committee (A.R.S. §49-248, repealed by Laws 2017, Chapter 315, Section 22)
- Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Promotion Council (A.R.S. § 3-524 et seq., repealed by Laws 1993, Chapter 14)
- Date Standardization (A.R.S. § 3-471, repealed by Laws 2001, Chapter 246)
- Pecan Standardization (A.R.S. § 3-531, repealed by Laws 2001, Chapter 246)
- Wine Commission (A.R.S. § 3-551, repealed by Laws 2003, Chapter 227, effective January 1, 2005)
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 3-101 et seq.
- Arizona Administrative Code R3-4-101 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1989, Chapter 162
- Laws 1994, Chapter 337
- Laws 2001, Chapter 246
- Laws 2003, Chapter 227
- Laws 2008, Chapter 309
- Laws 2015, Chapter 244
- Laws 2017, Chapter 315
- Laws 2018, Chapter 48 and Chapter 287
- Laws 2019, Chapter 5, Chapter 44, Chapter 68 and Chapter 147
Annual Reports. 1991- present
Master List of State Programs
Arizona Department of Agriculture website
Related collections at the Arizona State Archives:
- Record Group 9 - Department of Agriculture
- Record Group 22 - State Chemist
- Record Group 34 - Office of the State Dairy Commissioner
- Record Group 45 - Fruit and Vegetable Standardization Service
- Record Group 60 - Livestock Sanitary Board
- Record Group 72 - Board of Pesticide Control
- Record Group 81 - Sheep Sanitary Commission
- Record Group 97 - State Legislature
- Record Group 147 - Environmental Quality
- Manuscript Group 122 - Hudson Cotton Company
- Manuscript Group 123 - Supima Association of America