“This certificate program is an excellent course that provides valuable information for anyone who uses pesticides on their own farm,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre. “It also provides the assurance that producers use pesticides in a responsible and sustainable method, using said pesticide only when necessary.”
The course’s seven basic modules cover:
the definition of pesticides
poisoning and first aid
safe handling procedures
integrated pest management
legislation and food safety
application and equipment calibration
Brook says that a notable trend in pesticides over the last 20 years is that the newest pesticides being registered have very low residual effects. “They tend to be safer for the applicator and the environment than older chemistries. A major deciding factor in the registration process is minimal environmental impact.”
Two endorsements can be obtained under the Farmer Pesticide Certificate. “These allow the use of the restricted products phostoxin and gastoxin to control grain beetles in stored grain and to control gophers – Richardon’s ground squirrels,” he explains.
“Grain beetles showing up in stored grain is a problem that producers in southern Alberta often face, so demand for this certification is higher in that part of the province. This certification ensures that those who need and use these restricted products will use it safely – for both themselves and the environment.”
Brook adds that this certification is used for more than just gaining access to restricted pesticide products. “A number of producer groups and ag industries require their members to take this course in order to operate. Potato growers take the course to ensure safe application of specific products to control wireworm in potatoes. Greenhouse growers also require anyone using pesticides in the greenhouse to take it.”
The certification process began in the early 1990’s with the course being reworked in 2008 with a five-year renewable term was put into place. Producers can obtain their certificate by either attending a course put on by a certified trainer and writing the exam, or by completing the online course followed by writing the exam offered by a certified trainer.
Contact your agricultural fieldman for your closest certified trainer and to find out about local courses.
For more information about the Farmer Pesticide Certificate or to find out if your certificate is still valid, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre:
Hours: 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-FARM (3276)