Faces in the Field: Kay Harris, Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division

by | Jul 9, 2009

We have a diverse workforce here at the NCDA&CS that focuses on consumer protection, food safety, agricultural marketing, accuracy of weights and measures, plant conservation, livestock protection…and more. Once a month, we’ll talk to one of our employees and provide a behind-the-scenes look at what they do to serve North Carolina.

Kay Harris claims to be reticent when it comes to talking about herself. But get her started talking about her job as the certification, licensing and outreach manager for the NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division, and she’ll tell you a lot about keeping track of licenses and certifications for more than 42,000 pesticide users in North Carolina.

Any pesticide sold in North Carolina must be registered with the state. And anyone who uses a pesticide classified as “restricted use” must be licensed. Harris works to ensure these farmers, landscape professionals and agribusiness workers are maintaining the training and education necessary for their license, and that they understand the rules and regulations governing the use of pesticides.

Harris says the goal of her work is to make sure that pesticides are used properly and safely. Her division works in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other state agencies to achieve this goal. The EPA is responsible for testing pesticides and allowing them to be sold in the United States. At the state level, the NCDA&CS registers those products for sale in the state and makes sure users follow federal and state regulations.

Each pesticide product contains a label indicating proper uses. Harris points out that it’s a violation to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with the label instructions. Whether you’re a farmer spraying crops or a homeowner using a can of ant killer, always read the label first, Harris says.

In the video below, Harris talks about her job and tells us something about some common household items that we might not have known.