Because of the suspension of in-person certification exams as part of the state’s COVID-19 response, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is implementing a temporary program to streamline the process to become a registered pesticide applicator.
This new temporary program approves certified applicators interested in becoming an MDARD-approved trainer of registered applicators. It also allows approved trainers to administer exams to applicators looking to become registered for the first time.
MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division typically certifies 2,500 new commercial pesticide applicators each year through an exam process. Because of COVID-19, which caused PPPM to suspend examinations, many applicators are unable to take the exams necessary to become certified applicators.
“MDARD wants to ensure applicants can get properly registered without having to take an in-person exam. This temporary program provides a safe alternative through online training and oral exams for trainers done over the phone,” says Brian Verhougstraete, MDARD’s pesticide section manager. “Protecting the health of our applicants and staff are priority one while supporting the needs of the state’s regulated industries.”
Registered applicator credentials issued through the temporary program will be valid through Dec. 31, 2022. Registered applicators can only apply general-use pesticides in the categories that they received training in, and they must work under the supervision of a certified applicator.
“During these challenging times, MDARD continues to enforce pesticide law and protect Michigan residents,” Verhougstraete adds. “By offering this modified program, the departments can help businesses get the staff they need to operate, and protect public health by facilitating applications against mosquitoes, ticks and other pests.”
The temporary program went into effect May 26, and will expire upon the lifting of the state of emergency. For additional information, visit Michigan.gov/MDARDPest.