Linda Benedict, Chaney, John A. | 10/4/2004 4:27:03 AM
LSU AgCenter faculty members teach workshops throughout the year to assist agricultural producers and others in becoming and remaining certified to apply pesticides in a manner that will keep the food and fiber supply safe.
"The label is the law," said Dr. Mary Grodner, a professor specializing in pesticide safety with the LSU AgCenter, while speaking to more than 100 participants at one such event recently – a commercial pesticide conference Sept. 23-25 in Alexandria.
"It is important to read the label, understand the directions on the label and to precisely follow the directions for the species being controlled," Grodner said.
Numerous experts presented information during the conference on topics such as worker protection standards, organic farming, endangered species, applying pesticides correctly, identifying pests, pesticide storage and disposal, integrated pest management and other topics relative to pesticide use.
"Be careful when applying pesticides," said Grodner. "And remember a person can report a violation and claim a reward – if it violation results in a fine or penalty under the endangered species act."
Once certified, applicators must renew their certification on an annual basis and attend a recertification workshop every three years.
Pesticide applicators need to identify the sensitive areas near application sites such as the location of endangered species or sensitive non-targeted pests. They also need to make sure the conditions are appropriate for application of the pesticide. And they should monitor the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry pesticide alerts relative to the application of specific pesticides in controlled areas – such the application of products containing 2 4-D products near cotton-producing areas in the state.
Participants in the Alexandria workshop were encouraged to keep the storage area containing pesticides locked at all times, maintain an active inventory of unused pesticides and control the keys to applicator equipment.
"We need to guard against pesticides being used in an unlawful manner – such as terrorism," said Grodner.
Certification examinations were given at the conclusion of the conference by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
To learn more about the certification requirements or the pesticide recertification meetings being conducted near you, contact your parish’s LSU AgCenter Extension office or the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Pesticide conferences, like this one, provide an opportunity for experts to update applicators on the latest developments in using pesticides safely to maintain a consistent supply of food and fiber for consumers.