Private Pesticide Applicator Training

Carol Pilcher, Faculty, Entomology


Federal and State law requires that all people who purchase and apply restricted use pesticides be certified according to established standards. Iowa State University (ISU) Extension is mandated by the state of Iowa to develop and deliver training programs for all private pesticide applicators. These programs address 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 program topics (Introduction; Laws and Regulations: Worker Protection and Agricultural Health Study; Pesticides and Labels: Seed Treatment; Effects of Pesticides on Ground Water; Phytotoxicity; Soybean Rust; Plant Diseases (White Mold, Sudden Death, Gray Leaf Spot); Leafy Spurge; Western Bean Cutworm; Soybean Aphid; and Colaspis Beetles.


The private pesticide applicator training program conducted 330 (in all 99 counties throughout Iowa) meetings from December 2004 to April 2005. Total attendance at these meetings was 18,865. A post-training evaluation indicated that the program was successful. Overall, 98% 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, 50% of the participants said they would consider how ag health study information pertains to their safety and pesticide use practices. Additionally, 40% of the participants said they would update the required information on restricted-use pesticide (RUP) applications in a booklet or their computer. 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 that they now review the label requirements to determine the proper protective equipment (PPE) needed for using a pesticide. In addition, 65% of respondents maintain that they now keep a clean set of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the cab of their tractor. This evaluation indicates private pesticide applicators are making the decision to adopt and actively employ safer pesticide use practices in Iowa.


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Page last updated: July 9, 2006
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