Changes Coming for 2004 Manure Applicator Program
by Karen Grimes, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Commercial and confinement applicators can expect major changes in the 2004 manure applicator certification program, due to House File 644, passed by the 2003 General Assembly.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will write rules to put the new law into practice, a formal process that includes public input and normally takes about six months. The rules are presented to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) two or three times and the final version often changes based on public input or the commissioners’ concerns. Because of the short time before applicator certificates begin to expire on Dec. 31, the DNR may ask the commission to adopt the rules on an emergency basis. This will allow the rules to be finalized before the new training sessions begin in January of 2004.
Until the new rules are written and approved by the EPC, the DNR can only provide information about the changes required by H.F. 644. Details of the program will be available when the rules are finalized. However, the DNR anticipates that both confinement site and commercial applicators will have to pay an educational fee, and that certification fees for commercial applicators will be set at the maximum allowed by law. Confinement site application fees will be adjusted annually, based on program costs.
The major change for commercial applicators is that certificates will not be issued to individuals. Starting in 2004, the new law requires commercial manure services to be licensed and commercial applicators to be affiliated with the licensed business. The service license fee will be $200 in 2004, whether the business is a sole proprietor or a business association. Sole proprietors will be covered under the service license as managers.
Employees of the business or commercial manure service representatives must still be certified by taking three hours of annual training or passing a test. The law allows each company to designate a manager, someone who is actively involved and makes management decisions in the operation of the business. Although managers are service representatives and have to fulfill the training or testing requirements, they will not have to pay a certification fee. Other service representatives will pay a certification fee of $75 in 2004.
Businesses may pay the certification fee. If the commercial manure service pays the certification fee, it will hold the certificate numbers for its employees, allowing substitutions if an employee quits during the year. The new or substituted employee will have the same certificate number as the former employee. The DNR will still have information on the former employee’s training or testing record. However, the former employee will need to be associated with another licensed commercial manure service or start a business of his own.
All employees will have to fulfill the training or testing requirement annually. New or substituted employees who have not taken training or passed a test must complete those requirements within 30 days of hiring. Commercial manure services can anticipate naming a manager and representatives to the DNR and inform the DNR when a substitution occurs.
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Page last updated October 5, 2004
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