Private Pesticide Applicator Training Results in Safe Pesticide Use

Carol Pilcher, Interim Coordinator PME (IPM and PSEP Programs), Entomology Department


Federal and State law requires that all people who purchase and apply restricted use pesticides and any applicator who applies pesticides for hire be certified according to established standards. Each year, Iowa State University Extension Pest Management and Environment Program (PME) develops and delivers training programs for private pesticide applicators that apply restricted use pesticides.  The training programs provide an immense measure of benefit to our public as each program addresses pertinent and emerging issues associated with safe and efficient pesticide use. 


The primary objective for the private pesticide applicator training was development and delivery of the following required program modules:  Laws and Regulations (Certification Requirements and Recordkeeping Requirements), Pesticides and Labels (Proper Disposal of Treated Seed According to the Label), Agricultural Health Study, Pesticide Storage (Pesticide Security) and Safe Handling (Personal Protective Equipment).  In addition, the following pest management program modules were also available: Corn Rootworm Variants, Soybean Rust Update 2006, Soybean Cyst Nematode, Soybean Disease Update, and Invasive Species:  Weeds.


The private pesticide applicator training program conducted 290 meetings (in all 99 counties throughout Iowa) from December 2006 to April 2007.  Total attendance at these meetings was 17,267 participants.   A post-training evaluation indicated that the program was successful.  Overall, 96% of the respondents indicated that the program was excellent or good.  In addition, 96% of the respondents strongly agreed or agreed that the information presented at the meeting was useful for their farm operations.


To determine if the program had an impact on the participants, the evaluation examined specific areas to assess behavioral changes towards safer pesticide use practices. As a result of the program, 48% of participants said they would carry an emergency spill kit in their vehicle when transporting pesticides.  In addition, applicators stated that they planned to implement several key IPM practices.  Some of these IPM practices included: conduct soybean cyst nematode scouting (n=65), conduct other scouting (n=47) and keep better records (n=30).

In addition, this post-training evaluation examined if participants had indeed successfully implemented new pesticide safety activities, as a result of the previous year of private pesticide applicator training.  According to the respondents, 79% of the participants said that they now calibrate their sprayer to avoid the costs of over-application (e.g. polluting watersheds and/or drift).

This successful program continues to deliver positive results, impacts the safety and economic well being of our rural residents, and indirectly impacts other citizens through a cleaner and safer environment. It adds immense value to society and communities, and addresses emerging issues.

July 12, 2007
170 Pesticide Applicator Training


Page last updated: August 2, 2007
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