Private Pesticide Applicator Training Results in Safe Pesticide Use

Kristine Schaefer, Extension Program Specialist, Entomology


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 and pest management. 


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 (Fungicide Label Update), Agricultural Health Study, Water Quality (Best Management Practices and Rainfall Runoff Simulation DVD).  In addition, the following pest management  and optional program modules were also available: Diagnosing Herbicide Injury, Insect Monitoring Programs: Tools for Management, Phytotoxicity, Corn Response to Foliar Fungicides, Status of Iowa’s Waterbodies, Survey of Public Perceptions and Attitudes about Water 2007, Laws and Regulations DVD and a Weed Survey.


The private pesticide applicator training program conducted 226 meetings (in all 99 counties throughout Iowa) from December 2007 to April 2008.  Total attendance at these meetings was 16,860 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. In addition, a new optional webcast program was also tested this year.  The purpose of the webcast program was to give private pesticide applicators that were unable to attend a regularly scheduled program the chance to still receive recertification training.  Response to this program was also very favorable.

Outcome Statements: 

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, 32% of participants said they would take steps to reduce pesticide exposure and contamination in their home (67% reported they already took steps prior to the program to reduce pesticide exposure and contamination).  In addition, applicators stated that they planned to implement several IPM and Best Management practices.  Some of these practices included: conduct general scouting of fields (n=130), conduct corn and soybean disease scouting (n=36), and use buffer/filter strips, no tillage, residue, and/or staying appropriate distances from wells in order to protect water resources (n=43).

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, 85% of the participants said they reviewed the pesticide label to determine the required personal protective equipment.

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.


170 Pesticide Applicator Training

Page last updated: August 25, 2008
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