Not too late to earn pesticide re-certification credits before January 1

If your pesticide certification lapses on January 1, 2012, and you still need a few more credits for renewal to avoid taking the examination, there are a few opportunities left.

Farmers who need to use pesticides that the Environmental Protection Agency classifies as Restricted Use Pesticides and all commercial applicators must have completed and passed one or more examinations offered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Unfortunately, certification credentials only last for three years, expiring on December 31 three years after the last renewal. At that point, the applicator must either take a renewal test or renew by attending sufficient accredited classes. While some people prefer taking the test, many prefer renewing by attending a required number of accredited classes. However, it is easy to let time slip away from you and to end up three or four credits short with the December 31 deadline staring you in the face. If you are in that situation, there are still a few opportunities to get those last credits.

Farmers who have not participated in a Farm*A*Syst review during the previous three years may want to contacting their local Soil and Water Conservation District Office and ask to talk to the local groundwater stewardship technician, who is usually the person in charge of this program. Re-certification credits can be generated once every three years by participation in this program. However, it is important that the Farm*A*Syst review be completed before December 31.

Some Michigan State University Extension offices offer last minute classes for credit. One example of this is the “Review of the Core Manual” being offered by the Macomb County Extension Office on December 14, 2011. This program, which is part of a series of re-certification workshops offered by MSUE Macomb County extending into 2012, is simply a review of the Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual, but is offered for re-certification credits. Pre-registration is required for this workshop and can be made by calling 586-469-6440.

Farmers who are less pressed for time and looking for a leisurely way to accumulate credits should consider the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo. This program is held in Grand Rapid, Mich., at the DeVos Place Convention Center from December 6-8, 2012, and offers educational programs for fruit, vegetable and greenhouse producers, most of which offer re-certification credits. To view educational programs at the Great Lakes Expo and to download a brochure, visit the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo website.

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