You are here Additional Options Available for New Pesticide Applicators

Field Sprayer


AMES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship continues to update its pesticide applicator requirements amid ongoing issues with the COVID-19 pandemic.


On April 2, IDALS and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that some regulatory and certification provisions would be temporarily suspended. As of April 3, the state now has new options for those impacted by canceled certification testing.
The options differ as to whether the applicator is applying pesticides to agricultural commodities, and is considered “agriculture,” or whether they are “non-agriculture” (turf, ornamental, pest control, etc.).

Agriculture commodities

An online private pesticide applicator exam option is available to address pesticide applications made to agriculture commodities. This option only applies to private applicators and Commercial AG (Categories 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E) applicators. This new option, administered by IDALS, will temporarily allow individuals to take the private applicator test online for the duration of the State Public Health Emergency.
Private Applicator Study Manual is available from the ISU Extension Store to help prepare for the exam. After passing the exam, individuals submit their test results, application and fee to IDALS, and a private pesticide applicator certification is issued.
The new relief measure allows a certified private pesticide applicator to be employed as a commercial applicator and apply pesticides commercially to agriculture commodities if operating under the instructions and control of a certified commercial applicator. The supervising applicator is not required to be physically present.
Once the proclamation expires, commercial applicators must complete the commercial applicator testing requirements. This option does not apply to aerial applicators.


A second option applies to non-agriculture (e.g., turf, ornamental, pest control) applications. This option extends the timeframe for uncertified applicators to work under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.
Previously, the timeframe was 21 days from initial employment. The extended timeframe for uncertified applicators to work under the direct supervision of a certified applicator is through the duration of the proclamation. New applicators must pass the appropriate certification exams once the proclamation expires.
In this case, direct supervision means the certified supervising applicator is physically present and in sight or hearing distance.
Questions regarding testing and certification can be sent to
More information is also available on the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Integrated Crop Management website, including some questions and answers that IDALS has received.
Original photo: Field sprayer going down a lane.

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