EPA proposal could mean stricter pesticide application requirements

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Field sprayer

Area farmers who hold a private or commercial pesticide applicator’s license may be in for more training requirements if a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency is accepted.

As many of you know, any farmer who applies restricted use pesticides to his crops must obtain a private or commercial pesticide applicator license through the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Ohio State Extension helps in the licensing process by providing study materials, practice exams, and test preparation classes. OSU Extension also provides annual re-certification sessions for applicators to obtain their continuing education credits.

Stricter regulations

Just recently, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a minimum age increase to 18 and stricter standards for certifying applicators of restricted use pesticides. Much of what is proposed for the stricter federal standard is already required by Ohio law.

For example, Ohio pesticide applicators already take closed book exams, must recertify on a three-year schedule, and keep pesticide records. The proposed changes would, however, significantly increase the recertification requirements for Ohio pesticide applicators.

Longer sessions

The EPA has proposed that all applicators will be required to take six units (50 minutes) of core, plus three private or six commercial units per category every three years.

An Ohio commercial applicator licensed in one category who is now required to take five hours of re-certification would have to attend 12 50-minute sessions every three years. An Ohio private applicator licensed in one category who now needs 3 hours of training to re-certify would have to attend nine 50-minute sessions every three years.

Age limit

There also would be an annual training requirement and minimum age of 18 for trained service persons, who under current Ohio law only require a single, verified training prior to occupational exposure to pesticides.

Share concerns

The public may comment on the EPA’s proposal (docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183) through Nov. 23 — there have been formal requests for an extension to the deadline. This would be a good one for our private pesticide applicators to comment on.

Upcoming workshop

Speaking of pesticide re-certification, OSU Extension will be hosting a “Snow Bird” pesticide re-certification session Nov. 24, at Geauga County Extension Office in Burton from 9 a.m. until noon. This workshop will offer 3 credits for re-certification for CORE and All Categories (1-7) and has been designed for farmers who escape the winter snow storms and head south shortly after Thanksgiving.

The registration fee is $35 per person for the morning private pesticide applicator re-certification. Pre-registration is required by Nov. 16. An additional late registration fee of $25 per person will be added for any registration received after Nov. 16.

For more information call the Geauga County Extension office at 440-834-4656. Registration can be found at go.osu.edu/ne-events

Make it a good one

I would like share a quote from Gillian Anderson: “I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day. And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes, you have an opportunity to change that.”

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David Marrison is an associate professor and Extension educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension. He can be reached at 740-622-2265 or marrison.2@osu.edu.

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