Farmers often fulfill their continuing education requirements for various regulatory licenses during the winter months.
Most of these licenses or certificates have to be renewed every three years.
One of the more common renewal programs is the private pesticide applicator license. For this license, farmers had to initially pass a series of examinations to ensure competency in general pesticide safety and application knowledge.
They may have also passed additional examinations in certain categories, such as grain crops, livestock and forages, fruit and vegetables, and/or fumigation.
To maintain their pesticide applicator license, farmers have to take three hours of continuing education, with at least one hour on general pesticide safety, use, and regulations, which is generally referred to as the core requirements. The other two hours would be in the other categories of their license.
Ohio private pesticide licenses expire in the year of renewal on March 31. The Ohio State University Extension is responsible for providing the continuing education programs in each county.
In addition to the basic continuing education requirements, Extension programs emphasize effective management strategies that enhance crop productivity, encourage responsible use of pesticide products, and promote safe practices for applicators, the general public, and the environment.
County Extension educators receive training and research updates each year to develop programs specifically for their counties. I will receive this training this week in Columbus on the main campus of Ohio State University.
Hancock County will have two opportunities for farmers to receive their continuing education and license recertification: Jan. 24 and Feb. 2. The January meeting will be from 9 a.m. to noon. The February meeting will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Both meetings will be in the Great Hall of Findlay First Presbyterian Church, 2330 S. Main St. Recertification is available for core and all other categories except 7, specialty uses.
Pre-registration is required no later than the day before the meeting by calling the Hancock County Extension Office at 419-422-3851 or emailing lentz.38@osu.edu.
During pre-registration, please inform the Extension office if recertification is needed in the following categories: 3, fruits and vegetables; 4, nursery and forest crops; and 5, greenhouse crops. Additional programs need to be set up for these categories.
Private pesticide applicator training has an educational fee of $35 to cover program and educational costs, which may be paid at the door to Ohio State University Extension. The Ohio Department of Agriculture will request an additional $30 fee for the license, which will have to be mailed to the agriculture department.
Farmers who apply their own fertilizer to more than 50 acres of cropland will also have to complete a fertilizer agricultural certification training program before Sept. 30, 2017. This regulation was part of legislation that was passed in 2014 in response to algae blooms in Lake Erie.
As part of that legislation, farmers were given three years to complete the initial training for certification. A large number of farmers have already completed the certification process.
The regulation recognized farmers that already have a private pesticide applicator license. For these farmers, they only needed to complete a two-hour fertilizer program to become certified. Farmers without a private pesticide applicator license need to complete three hours of training.
The Extension office will offer a three-hour fertilizer training program at First Presbyterian Church from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 19. A two-hour program will be offered to farmers with a private pesticide applicator license on the same date as the pesticide recertification programs at First Presbyterian Church.
Fertilizer training also will be offered from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 24, and from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 2.
There is no cost for the fertilizer training. However, ODA will have a $30 certification fee for individuals who do not already have a private pesticide applicator license.
Pre-registration is required at least one day before the fertilizer training by calling the Extension office, 419-422-3851 or by emailing lentz.38@osu.edu.
Individuals who do not complete the fertilizer certification training by Sept. 30, 2017, may be required to pass a written examination to become certified in the future.
Other pesticide and fertilizer training programs will be offered in surrounding counties. These locations and dates may be found at the following web address: http://pested.osu.edu/Private_recert.
Farmers participate in the pesticide education and fertilizer certification programs to do their part in being good land stewards, to follow sustainable practices, and to improve the water quality of the Lake Erie watershed.
Lentz is extension educator for agriculture and natural resources for The Ohio State University Extension Service in Hancock County. He can be reached at 419-422-3851 or via email at lentz.38@osu.edu.
Lentz can be heard with Vaun Wickerham on weekdays at 6:35 a.m. on WFIN, at 5:43 a.m. on WKXA-FM, and at 5:28 a.m. at 106.3 The Fox.

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