Private Applicators: Look to Pesticide Label Changes, Avoiding Off-target Movement in 2019 Training

pesticide applicator training
After completing Nebraska Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program training, and becoming licensed by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, private pesticide applicators can buy and use restricted use pesticides in their farming operations. (Photo by Elizabeth Killinger)

Private Applicators: Look to Pesticide Label Changes, Avoiding Off-target Movement in 2019 Training

Approximately 6,500 private pesticide applicators of restricted use pesticides (RUPs) will have their state licenses expire in 2019. For them, or for anyone seeking first-time private applicator certification, Nebraska Extension training is available at approximately 200 sessions January-April.

In addition to the traditional sessions, a newly revamped, more user-friendly online private self-study training is available from the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. (See accompanying story.)

Sample Private Applicator License

Every three years a private applicator must attend a training session or self-study course approved by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), or pass an NDA exam for license renewal. Once licensed, applicators may purchase, handle, or apply RUPs. Fees are separate for Extension training and for NDA licensing.

In addition, separate annual Extension training sessions will be held for the dicamba products XtendiMax, FeXapan and Engenia. Completing this training prior to using these products is a federal requirement, due to the potential for drift and damage to non-target crops. Information will be updated beginning Jan. 2 at The three products have been classified as RUPs since 2017. In fall 2018 the federal Environmental Protection Agency extended registration for the three products through Dec. 20, 2020.

Following the label instructions for safety and to prevent damage from herbicides is increasingly important. The burden is on the applicator to investigate, read, understand, go to training programs, and know what they are doing before ever setting foot in the field; the applicator is responsible if that product moves off his/her property and damages a neighbor’s crops or plants.

PSEP, in conjunction with NDA, updates training and educational materials in light of changing products, equipment, research, and federal and state regulations. New pesticide label requirements, for example, help protect endangered species habitat, as well as help thwart weed resistance and off-target pesticide movement. Labels are becoming increasingly lengthy and more specific in instructions, but must be followed.

“The label is the law” and each label, even of the same product, must be read and followed because of potential variations.

Other PSEP training topics for 2019 include protecting pollinators, updates on glyphosate and paraquat, avoiding temperature inversions, calibrating and cleaning out sprayer equipment, correct use of nozzles and other application equipment, and integrated pest management, in addition to laws and regulations.

Participants will again use the updated EC130 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska to learn how to use label information such as chemical group numbers as well as nonchemical techniques, to reduce development of pesticide-resistant pests. The comprehensive guide, normally $15, is included with registration.

Private applicators to be recertified in 2019 will be notified in two ways: by mail through NDA or through local Extension offices.

Private applicators needing recertification in 2019 should have been notified by NDA in mid-December. The letter includes a bar code that eliminates the need to complete the standard NDA application form. Applicators also should check their licenses for the expiration date. If the license expires in 2019 but the applicator has not yet received a letter from NDA, they should contact the agency at 402-471-2351.

The cost of Extension’s private session training is $40; NDA licensing for private applicators is a separate $25.

Sites of Private Pesticide Applicator Training

Detailed information is available at or through the links listed below. Preregister by contacting host Extension offices; additional dates may be added later in December.

  • For the revamped and improved private online self-study training, see Extension training is $75; NDA licensing is an additional $25.
  • Applicators having both private and commercial/noncommercial licenses may find Extension’s Crop Production Clinics helpful. . Cost is $80. NDA licensing for private is an additional $25; for commercial, $90.

Yet another option for becoming certified or recertified is by completing a self-study course with printed materials, available at Extension offices. This is the last year for this option, which is $60; NDA licensing is $25 for private applicators.

In case of inclement weather and possible cancellations for Extension training sessions, listen to a local radio or television station, or call the training site.

For more information about pesticide safety, visit

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