As many producers know, in order to obtain a pesticide applicators license and purchase Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), every three years you complete a private pesticide certification program or self-study program. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing stricter standards for people to use RUPs and have determined that use of these RUPs would be safer with increased supervision and oversight, and to require all people who apply RUPs to be at least 18 years old (Nebraska currently requires applicators to be 16 years old). These proposed changes apply to the FIFRA/Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule.
Information below has been summarized from the Nebraska Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program which I’ve decided to share with you this week, to make you aware and allow you to provide your feedback as the public comment period for the proposed changes to the certification rule will run through November 23, 2015.
Certifications will continue to be renewed every three years. Additional specialized licensing is also proposed for certain methods of application that can pose greater risks if not conducted properly, such as fumigation and aerial application. State agencies issue licenses to pesticide applicators when they can demonstrate under an EPA-approved program their ability to use these products safely. Many states already have some or many of EPA’s proposed changes in place. The proposal promotes consistency across state programs by encouraging inter-state recognition of licenses, which would reduce the burden on applicators and commercial companies that work across state lines.
The EPA is also proposing that states adopt a Continuing Education Credit (CEU) Training Program. The proposed changes listed on the rule comparison chart define a CEU as 50 minutes of active training time. Currently, applicators in Nebraska are not required to train for a specific time, but requires that each competency be addressed during recertification training. The proposed changes require that both private and commercial applicators receive 6 CEUs covering core content (general standards), 3 CEUs for each private category (new categories proposed: aerial, soil fumigation, and non-soil fumigation), and 6 CEUs for each commercial category.
How do these proposed rule changes impact private pesticide applicators? Every three years, private applicators would need 5 hours of training to recertify, unless they needed to add another category, which would be an additional 3 hours for private categories and 6 hours for commercial applicators. Also, for first time private applicators, a test would be required to prove competency. For more information on this topic, go to Nebraska Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program website.