Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one! I hope it has been a good time for each of you to spend time with family. Was there anything left for leftovers? You know a true Thanksgiving can’t be fully appreciated without several days of turkey leftover concoctions. How creative are you getting?
How many of you went Black Friday shopping in a real store versus going online? I went out early like I always do but the list was very small so it was quite enjoyable with little hassle. While in the shopping mood, don’t forget today (Saturday) is Small Business Saturday. Be sure to support our local small businesses.
Finally before I get into the more newsworthy piece to my column, don’t forget the “Big Game” today. Cheer hard and hope for a victory! After the dismal performance last weekend the Buckeyes better have their game faces on today or they will no longer have much to cheer about this season.
Now on to something important and I believe this is a very important issue that all producers need to respond to. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a minimum age (18) and stricter standards for certifying applicators of restricted use pesticides (RUPs). For commercial applicators in Ohio, there is no distinction between RUP and non-RUP users, hence these new proposals potentially affect the certification and recertification of all licensed commercial pesticide applicators in Ohio whether or not they actually use restricted use pesticides.
Private applicators are only required to be licensed in Ohio if they use RUPs. Much of what is proposed for the stricter federal standard is already required by Ohio Law; for example, Ohio pesticide applicators already take closed book exams, must recertify on a three-year schedule, and keep pesticide records.
The proposed changes would however significantly increase the recertification requirements for Ohio pesticide applicators. The EPA has proposed that all applicators will be required to take six units (50 minutes) of core plus three (private) or six (commercial) units per category every three years. An Ohio commercial applicator licensed in one category that is now required to take five hours of recertification would have to attend 12, 50-minute sessions every three years.
An Ohio private applicator licensed in one category who now needs three hours of training to recertify would have to attend nine 50-minute sessions every three years. Applicators would be required to present identification at exams and recertification programs. For private applicators, the fumigation category would be split into soil and non-soil fumigation categories. There also would be an annual training requirement and minimum age of 18 for trained service persons, which under current Ohio law only require a single, verified training prior to occupational exposure to pesticides.
The public may comment on the EPA’s proposal through Dec. 23; there have been formal requests for an extension to the deadline. Comments may be submitted to the EPA at http://www.regulations.gov in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183.
Thinking about pesticide recertification for 2016, the Clinton County annual Pesticide Recertification program is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15, 2016 here at the Clinton County Extension Community room from 1-4 p.m. Watch for details and put it on your calendar.
Tony Nye is the state coordinator for Small Farm Programs and an OSU Extension educator, agriculture and natural resources, for Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.