Extension to Agriculture

Joel DeJong,  Northwest Iowa Crops Specialist


Continuing instruction for pesticide applicators is an on-going need and requirement.  Since it is a "mandatory" program for those who want to continue to use restricted use pesticides, and these people need to attend yearly, the verbal attitudes expressed by participants aren't always positive.  However, a large percentage continues to choose this method of certification instead of testing every 3 years.  Can we make these programs educational for participants?  Can we make an impact on their operations as a result of information presented to participants?  I wanted to review our impact and determine if there are obvious needs for improvement, and try to determine if the information provided actually changed their management of pesticides and pests.


Pesticide applicator continuing education programs were scheduled in all 7 counties served by the crop specialist in northwest Iowa during 2004-2005.  Twenty-seven face-to-face sessions were held in these counties.  Particular time was spent planning for the Integrated Crop Management parts of the program, in order to make these sessions as useful as possible for participants.


There were 2,204 participants at these sites in the northwest 7 counties of Iowa (about 130 less than we had attend in the 1998-1999 season).  An evaluation form was handed out at several of the meetings to gauge how we were doing, and what impact these meetings were having.  Responses from these evaluations (N = 445) were very positive.  99% of participants gave the program an overall rating excellent (57%) or good (42%).  When asked if they agreed with the statement, "Was the information presented today useful on your farm operation?" 98% agreed that this statement was true.  99+% considered the presenters were prepared and knowledgeable.

The first segment of the survey asked if, as a result of the training session, they would adopt certain practices on their farm.   Here are the percentage responses:
        Practice Adopted:
                        Prior to Mtg:           Because of Mtg.         
1.  Update required information restricted use pesticide information applications in their records:
                                39%                     51%                    
2.  Consider Ag Health Study information and how it pertains to their safety and pesticide use practices:
                               40%                     55%                     
3.  Select herbicides and application rates based on soil properties:
                               62%                     33%                     
4.  Review label for precautions to be observed when handling treated seed:
                                70%                     28%                     
5.  Test new tank mix combinations before applying to a large number of acres to avoid chemical phytotoxicity:
                                33%                     42%

It is also nice to see what impacts occur as a result of previous training sessions, so some questions were asked about changes made because of the same program last year.  As a result of the 2003-2004 PAT CIC program, 66% made sure that copies of section 18 or 24(c) labels were in their possession at the time of application, 87% review the label requirements to determine proper personal protective equipment needed during handling and application of pesticides, 64% keep a clean set of personal protective equipment in the cab of their tractor, and 75% adopted an insect resistance management plan for insect protected corn traits (most of the remainder do not need this plan).

Obviously, this program has a large impact on farming practices in northwest Iowa.  As the data shows, the vast majority of farmers do feel these are valuable sessions.  Additional time preparing and refining presentation material and skills can pay off.  A lot of farmers are exposed to Extension with this program, which can be a great "gateway" for them and other Extension opportunities available to them.  We need to be creative and positive when offering these programs - the impacts can be tremendous!

142 -- Integrated Pest and Crop Management

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu