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NDSU Extension Pesticide Certification Program Remains Vital to Safe Handling and Knowledge 

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There’s so much information to digest when it comes to pesticides,” says Dwight Johnson of Park River, North Dakota. “Whether it’s the chemistry of pesticides or understanding spray drift, NDSU Extension’s Pesticide Certification program provided the information I needed to work with pesticides effectively.”  

Close to 4,000 individuals obtain their pesticide certification through NDSU Extension’s Pesticide Certification Program in any given year.  

“Extension is responsible for the certification of pesticide applicators and/or dealers in North Dakota,” says Andrew Thostenson, Extension pesticide program specialist. “Certification is intended to ensure that people who use or merchandise certain pesticides or who make specific types of pesticide applications have a fundamental understanding of how to do so safely. Pesticide certification is the foundation for the safe and effective use of pesticides.”  

Pesticide certification is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for persons selling, purchasing or using restricted-use pesticides. The program is offered to private applicators like farmers, gardeners and landowners, or anyone wanting to spray restricted-use pesticides, and commercial or public applicators and dealers.  

“For this program to be successful, it takes a collaborative effort among NDSU Extension county agents who administer the program in each county and state specialists who develop the technical information needed to keep the program timely and relevant,” shares Thostenson.  

Rick Schmidt, NDSU Extension agent in Oliver County, believes that no other Extension program allows agents to develop relationships with every landowner, farmer, or farm worker in their respective counties the way the pesticide certification program does.  

“We believe this program empowers all applicators to use pesticide products both effectively and economically,” Thostenson says. “But beyond providing knowledge on current pesticide issues, we are always thinking ahead to improve the training for future applicators. In the past few years, we’ve incorporated information on application efficacy, adapting to weather conditions, endangered species protection and advice on tank mixing pesticides.”  

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