Nebraska Extension’s private pesticide applicator training season runs from January through April for the approximately 10,000 private applicators who are recertifying their licenses to apply restricted-use pesticides.
“The training sessions are one of three options available for private applicators to become first-time (initial) certified or recertified,” said Clyde Ogg, an extension educator who leads the Pesticide Safety Education Program.
A second option is the online self-study program, which includes assessment quizzes that participants must pass to become certified.
A third method is to attend one of six extension crop production clinics in January or the Nebraska Crop Management Conference Jan. 22-23 in Kearney.
Separate, additional training is required for anyone purchasing and applying restricted use dicamba and paraquat, Ogg said.
Every three years, a licensed private applicator must attend a training session, complete the self-study course approved by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture or pass an NDA exam for license renewal. Once licensed, applicators may purchase, handle or apply restricted-use pesticides. Fees are separate for extension training and NDA licensing.
“The user-friendly online private self-study training is an exclusive PSEP training option that has had positive results,” Ogg said.
No matter the method, training topics include the importance of reading and following the product label, as well as protecting non-targets such as people, sensitive plants and wildlife; helping prevent weed resistance; and properly applying pesticides.
This year, on-site meetings could include mention of potential federal regulation changes, Ogg said. For example, a comment period about part of the federal Worker Protection Standard is now underway.
“When any decisions on changes are known, PSEP will pass on the information to extension educators involved with pesticide training and through other venues,” Ogg said.
The Worker Protection Standard aims to protect people involved in agricultural work from pesticide exposure. Even if there are changes in the law, it is helpful to become familiar with the standard. A tool from the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative, available at http://www.pesticideresources.org/wps/doesitapply.html, can help workers, managers, employers, producers and others understand the law, Ogg said. By answering a series of questions related to the duties on an agricultural establishment, the tool will relay if and how the Worker Protection Standard applies, and what steps are needed to comply.
Private applicators needing recertification in 2020 should have been notified by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture in mid-December or by their local extension office. The letter includes a bar code that eliminates the need to complete the standard application form; applicators should bring the letter to the training session. Applicators also should check their licenses for the expiration date. If the license expires in 2020 but the applicator has not yet received a letter from the NDA, they should contact the agency at 402-471-2351.
Applicators will again use the updated EC130 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska to learn how to use label information such as chemical group numbers and nonchemical techniques, to reduce development of pesticide-resistant pests. The comprehensive guide, normally $15, is included with registration. Pre-registration is required for all training events.
Detailed information about training opportunities is available at https://pested.unl.edu or through the links below. Pre-register by contacting host extension offices.
- For private initial certification and recertification training locations, dates and contacts, click here. Extension training is $40; NDA licensing is an additional $25.
- For private online self-study training, click here. Extension training is $75; NDA licensing is an additional $25.
- Applicators with both private and commercial/noncommercial licenses may find extension’s crop production clinics helpful. Click here. The cost is $80. NDA licensing for private applicators is an additional $25; for commercial, $90; there is no license fee for noncommercial.
- The Nebraska Crop Management Conference, Jan. 22-23 in Kearney, is another option. Registration is $80 per day or $150 for both days. Click here.
In case of inclement weather and possible cancellations of extension training sessions, listen to a local radio or television station, or call the training site.
Extension training also will be held for the growing number of dicamba products. It is a federal requirement to complete state-approved dicamba training each year before using any of these products due to the potential for drift and damage to non-target crops and vegetation. For more information, visit https://pested.unl.edu/certification-and-training#dicamba. No fee is charged for this training.
Since fall 2019, paraquat labels include a link to required training for anyone who mixes, loads, applies or handles paraquat. Federal EPA online training, good for three years, provides information about paraquat’s toxicity, new label requirements and restrictions, and consequences of misuse.
Widely used in agriculture, paraquat is fatal when ingested in even a small amount; there is no antidote. Also in effect are new closed-container system standards for non-bulk end use product containers. This means the containers must be completely sealed, with no way to open and pour out the contents except into application equipment. For more information, visit https://campus.extension.org/login/index.php. No fee is charged for this training.
For more information on pesticide safety, visit https://pested.unl.edu.