JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The state legislative session is well underway in Jefferson City, with many hearings and much floor debate taking place the past few weeks. Legislation to update pesticide applicator training and certification was heard in the House Ag Policy Committee Tuesday, March 2. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Don Rone (R-Portageville), attracted extensive debate amongst stakeholders. Beginning in 2024, this bill would require all individuals handling restricted-use pesticides to meet certain training standards pushed down through EPA regulations.
The Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is supporting the development of more options for private applicator training requirements through (1) in-person training, (2) online training, and (3) a test-out option. These EPA requirements come at a significant cost, leading to the question: who should bear that budget? Gov. Parson has included one-time funds for the initial development of the training program curriculum in his budget recommendation.
MCGA has spearheaded the debate around private applicator fees and training to ensure these new regulations and programs will be implemented with the least negative impact possible on farmers while ensuring EPA will approve the plan. Last week, MCGA testified for informational purposes on the bill, advocating for a fee cap to be applied. This would prevent costs from becoming an unbearable burden on farmers. It also would allow Extension to provide services for the public good and bear some of the cost to administer the private applicator training programs. MCGA is also advocating to include a maximum time limit for in-seat training. If adopted, a majority farmer committee will determine the fee private applicators will have to pay for training every five years.
— Missouri Corn Growers Association
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