Reminder: Most farmers probably need to get the fertilizer applicator certification


Hello Northeast Ohio Dairy Farmers! With the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 150 this past June, farmers who apply fertilizer to over 50 acres of cropland each year are subject to a new certification requirement. Farmers who fall under this new requirement must complete their certification by Sept. 30, 2017. Today, I would like to answer some of the questions which our Extension offices have been receiving about this new requirement.

Who needs to obtain this certification?

Agricultural fertilizer applicator certification is required for farmers who apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres of agricultural crops grown primarily for sale. If the crops are used on-farm to feed livestock then certification is not required. Certification is also required for commercial agricultural applicators. Farmers who have their fertilizer applied by co-ops or custom applicators are not required to be certified.

What is the definition of fertilizer?

Fertilizer is defined for this program as any substance containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, or other plant nutrient in a dry or liquid formulation. All application types such as broadcast, side dress, sub-surface, knifing and other are included in the certification requirement. Lime and limestone are not included as fertilizer for the certification and farmers who only use starter fertilizer in their planter boxes are exempted.

Who issues the certification?

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is the agency issuing the certification for agriculture fertilizer applications. Information about the new certification program can be found at:

How do farmers gain their certification?

Farmers and commercial applicators need to attend a training course offered by Ohio State University Extension to become certified. Those who have a pesticide applicator license need to attend a two-hour fertilizer certification session.

If a farmer does not have a pesticide license, they are required to attend a three-hour fertilizer certification. For farmers who have their private pesticide applicator’s license, OSU Extension offices are adding a two hour fertilizer session at the start or end of local pesticide re-certification sessions.

We are recommending farmers wait until their pesticide license is up for renewal to attend their fertilizer training.

There is no cost for pesticide applicators to obtain their fertilizer license or attend the two hour training session. Pesticide applicators whose licenses need to be renewed by March 31 should have already received information about this year’s sessions.

To find location for a program close to you, access: For farmers who do not have a pesticide license, OSU Extension will be offering multiple sessions over the next three years for them to gain certification.

These meetings are free for farmers to attend. To find a location close to you, access:

How long is the certification good for?

The agriculture fertilizer certification is valid for three years. Two hours of recertification training will be required every three years to keep the certification. Farmers who currently have a pesticide license will have their fertilizer recertification calibrate to their existing pesticide recertification cycle.

How much is the agricultural fertilizer certification?

The agricultural fertilizer certification is $30 for a three year certification. If a farmer already has a valid pesticide license, this fee is waived.

Are there exceptions to getting the fertilizer certification?

Applicators who are a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) or Ohio Certified Livestock Manager are not required to attend the training. The agriculture fertilizer certification is not required for manure applications as it is regulated by separate legislation.

How can I obtain more information?

More information about fertilizer certification training sessions or general information can be obtained at OSU Extension’s web site at or at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s web site at:

Final thoughts: To close today’s column, I would like to share a quote from Wendell Phillips who stated “Responsibility educates.”

Have a good and safe day!

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