Hardin County – Certain farming practices require farmers to complete regulatory training. This training ensures that farmers have the knowledge and the tools to properly apply herbicides and fertilizers in a safe manner that protects the public and the environment.
Many of these regulations are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). States are often responsible for enforcing these regulations and are required to submit an implementation plan for EPA approval. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is responsible for many of the implementation plans for farm regulations.
The Pesticide Applicator License is part of the pesticide implementation plan, which farmers must obtain to apply restricted-use pesticides. Farmers are required to pass a test on pesticide safety and use, and in at least one category. Categories include Grain and Cereal Crops, Forage Crops and Livestock, Fruit and Vegetable Crops, Nursery and Forest Crops, Greenhouse Crops, and Fumigation.
The license must be renewed every three years and recertified by completing three hours of continuing education. Most farmers complete these hours during the winter months when they are not involved with field operations.
The recertification hours must include at least one hour in core, which is an umbrella term for general pesticide safety, use, and regulations. The remaining two hours include training in one or more specialization categories.
In addition to pesticide regulations, farmers also have fertilizer regulations. The state of Ohio requires farmers to complete an Agriculture Fertilizer Applicator Certification program to apply nitrogen and phosphorus to farm fields.
Farmers had to have completed a three-hour training course or pass a written examination for the fertilizer certification. During the training, farmers received information on algae blooms in Lake Erie, importance of soil testing for nutrient management, and management practices to reduce nutrient loss from farm fields, particularly phosphorus.
Farmers are required to take continuing education hours every three years to renew their Fertilizer Certification. Many farmers have both a Private Pesticide Applicator License and a Fertilizer Applicator Certification. For these farmers, ODA has synchronized the renewal year for their pesticide license and fertilizer certificate.
The Ohio State University Extension is responsible for providing the continuing education for these regulatory programs in each county. Agriculture Extension Educators are given research updates each year to develop tailored training programs for their given counties. As a result, training may vary from county to county.
However, the pandemic has altered Extension Educators from solely providing in-person training, which has affected farmers whose licenses needed renewed in 2020 and 2021. To accommodate the situation, ODA has extended license expiration dates for 2020 and 2021 license holders to July 1, 2021. In Hardin County, farmers have four methods to complete their recertification hours to renew their licenses before July 1.
1) Complete online training developed by OSU Extension. Because of the pandemic, ODA has temporarily allowed farmers to complete their training online. Farmers can access the training at: https://pested.osu.edu Scroll down the page to the section titled 2021 Ohio Self-Paced Online Pesticide and Fertilizer Recertification.
A farmer will have to register and pay with a credit card for the online training. Charges for the training are $35 and $15 for pesticide and fertilizer recertification, respectively.
After watching the presentations, an individual must submit the recertification form to get credit. Some confusion has occurred because the Scarlet Canvas software allows access to the form by selecting the “quiz” option at the end of the program. It may be 3 to 4 weeks before ODA processes the form and shows completed on their webpage.
2) Participate in an online live webinar being offered locally Wednesday, March 3 or Friday, March 5 or statewide March 25. Registration for the local webinars will be online at: go.osu.edu/hardinagnror pested.osu.edu for a statewide webinar on Thursday, March 25. Check the registration websites for specific times and class fees.
Webinars will require online interaction and participation in the form of answering poll questions and quizzes. Participants will also be required to complete surveys for normal information that is usually collected on forms during the live webinars. All webinars will require pre-registration and payment online with a credit card for fees.
To protect individuals from COVID-19, the online methods are the safest option.
3) In-person recertification training. The Hardin County Extension Office will offer two smaller in-person trainings Tuesday, March 2 and Thursday, March 4 at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory. Pesticide recertification training will be from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and fertilizer recertification training will be from 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Class size is limited, and pre-registration is required – no walk-ins. Register by calling Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator Mark Badertscher at 419-767-6037. Social distancing and masks will be required for in-person trainings.
Charges for in-person trainings are $35 and $10 for pesticide and fertilizer recertification, respectively. Payment will be made at the door – cash or check payable to OSU Extension.
The in-person programs are dependent on the status of the pandemic and first preference is to Hardin County residents who do not have computer access or have poor internet connections.
4) Watch recertification videos at the Hardin County Extension Office. This option is for individuals who do not have a computer, reliable Internet, or are unable to attend an in-person meeting. It is also for individuals that may have specialized categories on their license that are not offered during the other trainings.
This option will become available on March 30 and March 31. Farmers who wish to pursue this option for training will need to call the previously listed phone number to sign up for an appointment. Again, social distancing and masks will be required with limited seating available. Class fees are the same as the other in-person trainings and can be taken care of upon arrival to the Extension office.
The Hardin County Extension office will assist area farmers to complete their training and will follow the county Health Department and OSU guidelines in keeping individuals safe during the pandemic. Please contact the Hardin County Extension Office for additional information or questions.