PRIMGHAR, Iowa — Each winter, I conduct 26 continuing education training sessions for pesticide applicators. At these sessions we review the laws that are to be followed, share hints on safety and personal protective equipment and discuss Integrated Pest Management (deciding when to not use a pesticide or when it makes sense to use them). To get a pesticide applicator license in the first place, applicators must pass a test offered by the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship (IDALS). Applicators can choose to test every three years to renew their certification or attend a continuing education session each year. Most choose education. In the nine counties I serve in Northwest Iowa, I get to educate nearly 2,000 crop producers each winter.
As we all know, mid-March changed how most did business. Three Northwest Iowa pesticide continuing ed classes were cancelled. Testing conducted by IDALS stopped, and several applicators were left without valid licenses, with a growing season approaching. The governor allowed those with licenses expiring the end of 2019 to extend that certification for a year and allowed some temporary certification for new agricultural pesticide applicators via online testing. Pesticide applicators doing other than ag work were more limited. IDALS created some “drive-by” testing but getting that done was hard. They are now offering more options for those who need to test. However, it is not “business as usual” yet.
Iowa also extended the deadline for private pesticide applicators to attend a training session from April 15 to September 30. We just re-scheduled three opportunities to make up for what we missed. Here is the list:
- Thursday, July 23, 7:00 p.m. – First Presbyterian Church, Sibley; Call 712-754-3648 to pre-register.
- Tuesday, July 28, 7:00 p.m. – Community Center, Primghar; Call 712-957-5045 to pre-register.
- Monday, Aug. 3, 1:30 p.m. – Forster Community Center, Rock Rapids; Call 712-472-2576 to pre-register.
Pre-registration at least two days in advance of each training is required. I encourage participants to register early as there will be a maximum number of registrants accepted for each site to conform with social distancing requirements.
Individuals who do not feel comfortable attending large group gatherings should contact their local ISU Extension and Outreach office to set up an appointment to view the recorded private pesticide training video in their county office. This, too, needs to be completed before September 30. Questions can be directed to your local Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office.
An Important Reminder for Applicators: Applicators will still need to attend an upcoming winter program beginning in December if they choose the option of annual continuing education for recertification.
— Joel DeJong, Field Agronomist
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
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