Impacts of Private Pesticide Continuing Instruction

Joel DeJong, Crops Field Specialist, Northwest Area

Problem Statement

Continuing Instruction for pesticide applicators is an on-going need/requirement to insure that they are properly using pesticides, and minimizing the risk to the environment. Participants can test every three years, or pay to attend the continuing instruction meetings.  A large percentage continues to choose this method of certification instead of testing.  How 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, try to determine if the information provided actually changed their management of pesticides and pests, and gain insights for future ideas on presenting this information.

Programmatic Response

Pesticide applicator continuing education programs were scheduled in all 7 counties served by the crop specialist in NW Iowa during 2005/2006, including a session as part of the Sheldon Crop Advantage meeting.  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 a possible for participants.

There were over 2000 participants at these sites in the NW 7 counties of Iowa. An evaluation form was handed out at several of the meetings to gauge how we were doing, and what impact these meetings were giving.  Responses from these evaluations (N = 577) were very positive.  99% of participants gave the program an overall rating excellent (49+%) or good (49+%).  When asked if they agreed with the statement "Was the information presented today useful on your farm operation? 98% or 564 agreed that this statement was true.  99+% considered the presenters prepared and knowledgeable.

The first segment of the survey asked if, as a result of the training session, they will adopt certain practices on their farm.   Thirty percent (175 participants) indicated they would adopt the practice of notifying registered bee yards when applying toxic insecticides. Fifty-eight percent (335) were going to make certain they had section 3 and section 18 labels in their possession when using section 18 pesticides. Reviewing pesticide labels to determine proper storage was to be adopted by 164 survey respondents, or 28%. Finally, 154 respondents indicated they would calibrate their sprayers (27%). Many of those surveyed indicated that most of these practices had already been adopted on their operations.
Three survey questions targeted what impacts occur as a result of previous training sessions.  As a result of the 2004-05 PAT CIC program, 65% selected herbicides and application rates based on soil type, organic matter, permeability, pH and depth to groundwater. Eighty-one percent reviewed the label of all chemicals for precautions to be observed when handling or mixing treated seed. Thirty-=four percent (196) tested new tank mix combinations on a small area before applying to a large number of acres to avoid chemical phytotoxity.
Obviously, this program has a large impact on farming practices in NW Iowa.  As the data show, 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!


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Integrated Pest Management/Integrated Crop Management
143 Pesticide Applicator Training

Page last updated: July 10, 2006
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